Rovina headlines Portsea's summer of limited 2016 prestige property listings

Rovina headlines Portsea's summer of limited 2016 prestige property listings
Rovina headlines Portsea's summer of limited 2016 prestige property listings

The clifftop Rovina estate is the season's top Portsea property offering, but just $8 million-plus is the price guidance for the trophy home.

Overlooking Portsea pier and Weeroona Bay, it was built in the early 1960's utilising materials, including columns, from some of Melbourne's most magnificent buildings from the last century.

The five bedroom home has a Mediterranean villa influence interpreted by society architect Geoffrey Sommers, who had his home home on London Bridge Road, near the backbeach.

The eclectic home comes with a separate bluestone cottage at the 3808 Point Nepean Road holding.

The buyer will have the option to purchase the boatshed, situated directly below the house on Fishermans Beach accessed via a private walkway. 

Gerald Delany and Liz Jensen of Kay & Burton have the property inconjunction with Warwick Anderson and IIze Moran at RT Edgar with offers due February 18.

It last sold in 1983 at $714,000 under mortgagee instructions through RT Edgar having previously traded at $450,000 in late 1977.

Businessman James O'Connor's 1983 sale came after his Mercedes dealership, Kew Star Motors hit some financing issues in the recession. 

The recession also saw O'Connor - known as Jimmy like his hotelier father - lose what had been Melbourne's first $1 million home, which he had bought from Maurice Nathan in 1980 for $1.01 million on St Georges Road.

The 1983 Rovina transfer paperwork, lodged by Madden Butler Elder & Graham, was to Pacrana Pty Ltd, a company associated with Brighton businessman Brian Davis, the octogenarian 1950s founder of the Australian housewares company Décor Corp, whose former wife is Marilyn Darling, nee Skinner.

Rovina, on 1990sqm near The Cutting, had been bought in 1977 by O'Connor with vendor finance from the Watkins family of Toorak, who'd owned it for the prior 16 years. Peggy and Larry Watkins had O'Connor, who was living in Barridene apartment 101, in the early 1970s Toorak block, pay back the loan by 1980. The 1977 marketing advertisement suggested the interest rate was 10 percent. 

At the time Mr Jensen at RT Edgar advertised Rovina as a gracious classical residence built around a magnificent atrium. There was a 50 foot by 20 foot living room. Reference was made to the doric columns and bluestone stairs to beach and mooring. Title Tattle would suggest the columns came from the 1960 Whelan The Wrecker-demolished Colonial Mutual building, on the corner of Collins and Elizabeth streets, since Sommers had some columns at his nearby residence.

Owners through earlier years included sharebroker Alfred Mellor from 1954 to 1957; with Toorak couple, Ken and Kath Guest who also owned the original Laughing Water estate at Eltham, holding it between 1957 and 1961.

Décor, based in Scoresby, manufactures 450 products include kitchenware, food-storage containers, wine coolers, picnicware and gardenware.

The company’s annual sales were once advised as US$77.5 million.

Davis’ first product was a plastic tumbler in a plastic case with Décor’s most successful product being a two-bottle portable wine cooler that allows patrons to take their own drinks to restaurants. The award-winning product is included in the New York Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

Davis’ career began at Coles later to work at his uncle’s toy company as sales manager. He then worked at a California-based plastics company for a year, returning to Australia when in 1958, he formed Décor, which was originally called Brian Davis and Co. Pty. Ltd.

Décor first started exporting in 1960, with about 75 percent of the company’s products manufactured in Australia; the rest are made in China having started manufacturing there in 1980.

Mandurah, the double-storey house designed by Wayne Gillespie on the Portsea cliff top, was last summer's top sale at $9.75 million.

Mandurah was a 1,969 square metre holding with tennis court above Fisherman’s Beach.

At $8.25 million, the FlexiGroup founder and chairman Andrew Abercrombie, who owns 25 per cent of the $900 million lease and retail credit company, and wife, Shadda paid 2015's second highest known Portsea price.

The 2,600 sqm property, opposite Relph Avenue, was bought off market from the Newman family, associated with the former Gunns chairman Chris Newman.

It had last sold at $3.5 million in 2002.  

Portsea’s most expensive mansion sale remains Ilyuka which former Computershare director Michele O'Halloran sold for $26 million in 2010 to John Higgins, a Victorian house record. The Spanish Mission-style home was built in 1928-29 for oil executive Harry Conforth.

CoreLogic RP Data put the seaside suburb's median house price at a record $1.8 million.

 

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