John Piven-Large seeks to push through Point Piper prestige property sales paralysis: Title Tattle

John Piven-Large seeks to push through Point Piper prestige property sales paralysis: Title Tattle
Jonathan ChancellorDecember 8, 2020

The Point Piper peninsula finally has a fresh prestige property listing, albeit being offered distinctly off market.

It's the Edwardian-era harbourfront house of John Piven-Large, which last traded in 1991 when it was a duplex. It's now a restored four-bedroom house with one-bedroom self-contained apartment with a 30-metre private tidal beach.

The low-key liquor industry entrepreneur owns the Centennial Vineyard at Bowral, having made his fortune when Fosters bought Cellarmasters for $160 million in 1997, with Piven-Large having an estimated 45% stake in the pioneering  wine direct marketing company.

It's been listed by Ray White Double Bay agent Elliott Placks, who's apparently been telling interested parties that it could be expected to sell for somewhere between its near neighbour benchmarks.

Just two doors along sits Routala, which was bought for a then record $28.7 million in 2007 by the hedge fund director Gordon Fell and his wife, Pip, and two doors the other way is the long-listed Altona, which comes with $55 million-plus hopes and record-setting pedigree.

But with Sydney's priciest property market, Point Piper, having been paralysed since even before the global financial crisis, finding comparable prestige sale pricing is difficult for sellers and buyers alike.

And the peninsula is overflowing with very dated, overpriced unsold offerings.

Altona has been for sale, on and off, for five years, the closest to sale at $56 million when the Lowy family bid was rejected by Deke and Eve Miskin in 2007. Title Tattle well recalls the Lowys first inspected the property just after the actor Russell Crowe looked, but decided it was not right.

What's affectionately known as the HPM house has been for sale on Wolseley Road for three years or so. It was in 2009 when it was listed with $60 million hopes. Its the six-bedroom waterfront residence of the late Peter and Ruth Simon, who established the electrical switch manufacturers HPM Industries. The Simons bought the property from the late FAI chairman Larry Adler for $12 million in 1996. The vast five-level concrete house stands in the most verdant patch of Wolseley Road, neighbouring Duff Reserve.

The Ron and Odetta Medich house remains listed currently with a renewed marketing campaign through LJ Hooker Double Bay agent Bill Malouf.

Headhunter Julia Ross has had several attempts to sell her Point Piper hillside offering, Villa del Mare. The Wolseley Road offering was discreetly put on the market in 2011. The trophy residence has $40 million-plus hopes through Ken Jacobs of Christie's Great Estates and LJ Hooker Double Bay's Bill Malouf. The limestone palazzo sits on a 1,508-square-metre block. The house was designed by architect Chris Tsioulos when built in the late 1990s by the developer Nati Stoliar. It’s almost certain to sell to Chinese buyers.

One of Professor Leslie Wilkinson’s most prized Point Piper houses remains listed for sale by the retired shirt maker-cum-property developer Charles Scarf and his wife, Maria. The 1959 Wentworth Street property was the second-last of Wilkinson’s house designs. It was listed in March 2012. It last traded when bought from the then low-profile expatriate businessman Richard Wiesener for $8.25 million – which was 1992's highest sale. The neighbouring property had been bought for $6.5 million for its tennis court in 1989, and it took the estate to 2,717 square metres. The original house reportedly cost $350,000 in the 1970s. 

Point Piper's most recent house sale was in June when Deauville, the 1935 five-bedroom harbourfront residence with direct frontage to Lady Martins Beach, reputedly fetching about $13.6 million when bought by the Haifer family. The Longworth Avenue house went to June 2011 auction when it was passed in at $16.1 million through Ben Collier and James Dack at McGrath, in conjunction with Bart Doff of Laing + Simmons Double Bay, who were seeking $17 million plus. It was finally sold through Double Bay agents Brad Pillinger and Elliott Placks by the property developer and yacht racing identity George Snow and his wife, Sabrina, who bought it 19 years ago for $3 million.

The developers Bob and Margaret Rose sold their Point Piper villa on extended settlement terms last November through Christies International agent Ken Jacobs and LJ Hooker agent Bill Malouf for $15 million. It was bought from Andrew Potter, who owns one of the pricey Sienna, Point Piper apartments.

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.

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