John B Fairfax waterfront mansion Elaine located at 550 New South Head Rd, Double Bay. Picture: Carlos Furtado
A GRAND waterfront mansion owned by the Fairfax family for 102 years is set to smash Australian property price records if it sells for an expected $100 million.
Agents say the Sydney house is the most significant listing ever to hit the market in Australia and are predicting a nine-figure sale for the Double Bay estate.
Selling agent Ken Jacobs of Christie’s International Real Estate told The Australian it was impossible to give a price for the heritage-listed mansion, known as Elaine, as there are no points of reference.
However, Sydney valuers estimate that it could fetch $100 million on the back of recent top-end sales, and say an Asian buyer is a distinct possibility.
Elaine will certainly surpass the Sydney record of$53 million paid by Xiuzhen Ding’s Chaimovitch Investments for nearby Altona which sold earlier this year, as the estate is three times the size. What’s more, Altona sold when the market was more subdued, and the block is already subdivided into six lots each of which could be sold separately.
Aerial view of ‘Elaine’
Elaine will also beat the record national price, of $57.5 million paid by Mineral Resources founder Chris Ellison for iron ore heiress Angela Bennett’s Swan River front residence in Perth’s Mosman Parkin 2009.
The seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom mansion with accompanying tennis court has some of the best views across Sydney Harbour.
The residence itself is a grand Victorian mansion, built in 1863.
The Double Bay mansion. Picture: Supplied
Businessman John B Fairfax put Elaine, the home of four generations of the Fairfax family of publishing fame, on the market this week.
Elaine, just 4 kilometres from the city centre, sits on 7000 square metres of land dropping down to the private Seven Shillings Beach.
The property was purchased by Geoffrey Fairfax in 1911 for pound stg. 2100.
His descendants subsequently secured the property for the family through a series of purchases, including by John B Fairfax’s father, Sir Vincent, in 1936.
John B Fairfax is a cousin of Warwick Fairfax, who privatised the family media and publishing businesss in 1987. He returned with a merger of Rural Press in 2007 only to sell out at a loss in 2011.
Google Earth image of waterfront estate ‘Elaine’
The Fairfax family have not lived at Elaine in more than 20 years and it is now effectively a redundant asset.
It is currently tenanted but the lease is due to expire shortly, according to the Australian Financial Review.
Tenants have included venture capitalist and media player Cameron O’Reilly, son of media mogul Tony O’Reilly. Rent was $6300 a week when rented by Mr O’Reilly in 2000.
It is understood the 1870s building requires substantial renovation.
A Fairfax family spokesman told The Australian that the home held a special place in the family’s history and Mr Fairfax, 71, believed it was now time for a new family to enjoy it.
Once occupied by Lady Nancy Fairfax, who moved out in 1994, it includes a ballroom and stables.
John B Fairfax
Mr Faifax’s family’s private company, Marinya, severed ties with Fairfax Media in November 2011 when it sold its 9.7 per cent stake for $200m. Four years earlier, the family’s 14 per cent stake in the media group had been valued at $1.1 billion.
A source close to Mr Fairfax dismissed any suggestion the sale of Elaine was forced because of the family’s financial position.
The family has been rationalising its investments in property, shares, debt and other financial instruments since the Fairfax media share sale.
The estate will be marketed extensively offshore.
And for the rare few with $100 million to spare, here’s what else your money could buy:
With tropical Queensland islands priced from $2 million, you could have many of these of these.
At $800,000, more than 100 Lamborghini Aventadors.
Lamborghini Aventador. Picture: Supplied
She’s not for sale, but at an estimated worth of at least $10 million, about 10 Black Caviars.