Title Tattle | 24 August 2018

John Schaeffer's Bonnington in Bellevue Hill returns to marketplace

John Schaeffer's Bonnington in Bellevue Hill returns to marketplace

The Tudor-style Bonnington in Bellevue Hill has made a surprise return to the market.

It was the longtime home of the late businessman Neville Christie which Sydney art collector John Schaeffer secured in February this year for $20.5 million.

Schaeffer told the local paper he has “significantly refreshed and improved” Bonnington.

Proffering key insights into his flipping strategy, Schaeffer revealed he'd removed old carpet, restored timber floors and replaced electric switchboards and lighting during his very brief ownership.

Described as a "well-known purveyor of fine real estate in Sydney," he has been buoyed by recent sales at Darling Point and Dover Heights.

However given the $1.375 million stamp duty fees and other costs, Schaeffer will need $22 million plus to make his money back on his fix and flip of Bonnington.

There is plenty of equity held by Schaeffer in his rehabbing project for the lower hillside trophy home which comes with two mortgages to Assetline Investments. 

The title assists in providing insights to the financing behind the flipping.

Title Tattle gleans the first mortgage on purchase was for $9.9 million at 12 percent. The second mortgage was taken in April for $7.8 million at 18 percent. 

Last time the 1930s six bedroom home designed by acclaimed architect F. Glynn Gilling reportedly attracted competition from at least three buyers, including former McGrath franchise operative Shane Smollen.

The exclusive SMH report on the forthcoming listing noted some of those interested parties had "already made inquiries" prior to its Ray White marketing campaign beginning.

Schaeffer, described as "taking property flipping to a new level" doesn't reveal his future plans. 

The home of the Christie family for 56 years sits on over 2,200 sqm.

Schaeffer once called the more impressive Rona at Bellevue Hill his home. 

The 1880s hilltop estate was sold 13 years ago to the property developer Terry Agnew and his estranged wife, Kyril. 

Rona remains listed with reputed $60 million plus hopes.

In April Schaeffer sold some of his vast art collection, signalling a new passion for sculpture.

The listed paintings by Frederic Leighton, Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Edward John Poynter lined the walls the Bellevue Hill mansion.

The highlight was an Edward John Poynter oil painting from 1887 in spectacular neoclassical gilt frame.

Depicting female models in a classical setting, 'A Corner of a Marketplace', it was offered as the potential best-seller at $450,000 to 650,000 (below).

He built and re‐built a collection of predominantly high Victoria art over many decades, after a visit to the exhibition The Pre‐Raphaelites at the Tate Gallery in 1984 that represented what he called “a defining and life‐altering moment.”

The 56 offerings came with an total estimate of $3.3 million to $4.4 million.

John Schaeffer was born in Amsterdam and migrated to Australia in the 1950s, later buying a contract cleaning company that became one of the top companies in Australia.

Earlier this year he had told The Australian he had a new obsession involving plans for the Tudor-style Bonnington.

Inspired by Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, Schaeffer suggested he planned to build a conservatory in the garden at Bonnington to house his new collection of 120 classical sculpture and architectural details from English collector Peter Hone.