Who is Aqualand's Jin Lin, the second biggest shareholder in the McGrath estate agency

Who is Aqualand's Jin Lin, the second biggest shareholder in the McGrath estate agency
Jonathan ChancellorDecember 7, 2020

Apartment developer Aqualand - which this week signed up to become the McGrath estate agency's second biggest shareholder - is controlled by the Lin family.

Scion "Jim" Jin Lin heads the business.

Lin hit the headlines when the family acquired the $52 million mansion Villa Igiea in Vaucluse.

Villa Igiea, the magnificent European style villa, was bought from Dr Wayne Burt, during the final business hours of 2015.

There were headlines again when he lodged plans for a $22 million renovation that would see the neighbouring house rebuilt as a three-storey residence with the two properties joined via a basement and shared carpark.

Permission was given in April this year on the November 2016 Tzannes Architects proposal which involved 1800 sqm of excavation.

The two Queens Avenue homes covering 2900 sqm are registered in the name of Lin’s mother, Yunhui.

Lin is the Chinese-born, 28 year old in charge of residential developer's $5 billion apartment pipeline.

Aqualand, which was launched in 2013, has projects at Lindfield and North Ryde on Sydney's north-side. Another of its projects include Blue at Lavender Bay, the residential conversion of an 18 level commercial office building.

There's also the ultra-luxury 46-unit project, The Revy, at the heritage-listed waterfront warehouse adjacent to the Seven Network headquarters in Pyrmont, where designer Blainey North was commissioned to undertake its interiors.

It has plans for a mixed-use residential complex of nearly 1200 units over five hectares, in Melrose Park, Meadowbank, along Sydney's Parramatta River.

Apartment developer Aqualand has been very active and recently made former Mirvac head of residential John Carfi its new chief executive.

Their stake in McGrath cost around $10.7 million.

Aqualand is also a vested corporate citizen, sponsoring sporting and cultural initiatives such as The Australian Ballet, Sydney Film Festival, Sculpture by the Sea (Bondi), and the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Aqualand is backed by capital from its parent company, Shenglong Group which has $25 billion in investments and development in China, Europe, the US and Australia.

He is the only son of Chinese property mogul Yi Lin, head of Shanghai-based property group, Shenglong.

The two are reportedly close, speaking three to four times a day.

Lin senior was a sub-contractor but started his own development company in 1999 in their hometown of Fuzhou in the southern province of Fujian in China.

The company has developed 30 million square metres of property.

The younger Lin, a finance graduate from Macquarie University in Sydney, went to his father's construction sites every day as a child.

The Lin family migrated to Australia 16 years ago.

Their hillside Vaucluse mansion, inspired by the grandest of villas in Palermo, Sicily, dates back to the 1920s when built for the Grace retailing family (below).

The property's prior owner was Charlotte Sargent, whose husband George Sargent, the founder of Sargent’s Pies, named their then house, Hartley Hope.

The photographs taken at the property by Sam Hood in 1939 at the pre-wedding cocktail party for Mr Grace and Miss Miller, hosted by Isabel Grace, show the property.

In 1939 Sam Hood took a photograph entitled Pre-wedding cocktail party for Miss Miller and Mr Grace, given by Mrs I Grace at her home, "Villa Igiea", Vaucluse.

Source: State Library of NSW, Sam Hood Collection.

Who is Aqualand's Jin Lin, the second biggest shareholder in the McGrath estate agency

Villa Igiea was the long-time home of the late TNT transport tycoon Sir Peter Abeles and then his widow, Lady (Kitty) Abeles.

Its first update came during the McWilliam family’s ownership, then its contemporary refurbishment by Paris designer India Mahdavi which featured in the April 2013 Vogue.

Dr Burt had paid $17.37 million in 2005, then adding an adjoining 800 sqm property with house in 2009 costing $4.9 million, which was anticipated as a tennis court block.

Source: State Library of NSW, Sam Hood Collection.

Who is Aqualand's Jin Lin, the second biggest shareholder in the McGrath estate agency

For a time James Packer was interested in buying Villa Igiea but instead bought La Mer in 2009.

Set above Hermit Bay, Villa Igiea was built on its 2200 sqm block in the Riviera Liberty style to a design by Neville Hampson, the architect who also designed Boomerang at Elizabeth Bay.

It became one of Sydney's leading short term luxury rentals, occupied by Texan billionaire Jim Clark and his wife, Kristy Hinze-Clark as their Sydney to Hobart race-winning bolthole.

Villa Igiea, which had enough space to host Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt's wife, and their six children, could command up to $70,000 a week.

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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