Coal magnate Tony Haggarty turns luxury property developer after Manly foreclosure

Coal magnate Tony Haggarty turns luxury property developer after Manly foreclosure
Jonathan ChancellorDecember 8, 2020

Coal mining magnate Tony Haggarty has become a luxury Manly property developer after foreclosing on the Bower Street development site of property developer Matt Savage.

Haggarty’s private investment company HHTT Pty Ltd had limited equity in the project by Matt Savage’s Savage Property Enterprises Pty Ltd.

Haggarty sold the first of the four apartments at 110 Bower Street, Manly, earlier this month at $7.53 million through McGrath agent Jake Rowe, with two others set to be marketed later this year. Haggarty, who was born in Dungog, was the co-founder of Excel Coal.

Haggarty collected $225 million through the sale of Excel, the Hunter Valley mining company, to US giant Peabody Energy, when it sold for $2 billion in 2006.

A bankruptcy sequestration order was made against the estate of the Orange-based Matt Savage on June 30, 2011 following an application by the body corporate at his nearby earlier development.

The former lawyer turned property developer completed his initial luxury apartment complex at 92 Bower Street, where two of the three leasehold apartments sold for $8 million off the plan in 2007 to Haggarty and $7 million to financial adviser Nigel Flowers. Savage kept the third after its 2008 completion, which is still in his name, albeit with six caveats on title from aggrieved creditors. Several are from the architect Don Bianchino.

Savage once noted the project came about after he went to a real estate agent looking for a beautiful townhouse in the area. "I was told such a thing didn't exist," he says. "He told me if I wanted one, I'd have to build one. So I did, right on the edge of the cliff on the water."

An ugly, rundown 1920s two-storey block of flats was pulled down, with the new building designed by architect Vince Squillace. With its pool and garden, the $8 million sale was the highest recorded Manly apartment price at the time.

But it was the next project at 110 Bower – now under Haggarty’s control – where Savage came unstuck. Savage paid $8.25 million in July 2007 for his next intended second low-rise development on the waterfront. Subcontractors for its demolition were sought in early 2008. But the replacement of the old block never proceeded, with Savage unable to secure the requisite financing for its redevelopment. Savage had approved plans for four spacious, four-bedroom apartments with 180-degree views over the marine reserve, Shelly Beach, Fairy Bower surf break and the ocean.

Designed again by architect Vince Squillace with a more contemporary design, they will sit 10 metres above the water on the cliff face. Built of sandstone, recycled timbers and copper cladding, with stone tiles, boat deck-style floors, and large decks they were listed for sale for more than $7 million, and due to be finished in late 2010. The two off the plan sales didn’t get to proceed as the delay worsened.

"Fairy Bower is the eastern suburbs of the North Shore but with a north-facing beach over the ocean instead of the harbour," Matt Savage once suggested. His bankruptcy marked a sad twist that began 23 years earlier when as a penniless student Savage proposed to his girlfriend, Lisa, on the sands of Fairy Bower, so-called because of the magical and romantic qualities of the rocky bushland gully and creek than once ran down to Cabbage Tree Bay.

Enchanted by both the place and her suitor, the girlfriend accepted and the couple vowed that one day they'd try to live there.

"But we never thought we'd ever be able to afford it," noted Savage in the 2008 interview. 

Matthew Ronald Savage, was bankrupted by order of Registrar Segal in the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia. It followed a petition by the strata plan owners of his apartment, who were represented by David Le Page.

Other bankruptcy orders had been sought by Australian Unity Funds Management.

The foreclosure documents, which list the property's failed primarily print marketing campaign, are on page 2.


Click to enlarge


Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

Editor's Picks

Six Degrees and Beulah lead the way for next era of sustainable homes and design
Abadeen & PERIFA to bring Woolloomooloo Wharf-inspired waterfront precinct to Putney
Coronation tops out Mason & Main, Merrylands second stage
From rooftop running tracks to piano bars: Melbourne's best apartments with significant resident amenities
‘Reverse sea changers’ return to city life as West End penthouse fetches $5.25 million