Not content with owning just one Mosman mansion, local trophy homeowners have resorted to buying up their neighbours to create larger family compounds and extra garden space.
A spate of site amalgamations and related DAs lodged with Mosman Council coincide with continued tight stock levels of recent years that have left the well-heeled with fewer trophy homes to trade.
“What all these sites have in common is they are A-plus locations,” said real estate agent Kingsley Yates, of The Agency. “They are so tightly held that if you have the opportunity, you don’t blink. You buy it. And clearly, in Mosman anyway, they are not making any more land.”
Venture capitalist Markus Kahlbetzer owns the notable Mandolong House, which is undergoing a significant reconstruction.
The son of billionaire agribusiness baron John Dieter Kahlbetzer bought the 3000-square-metre property for $18 million in 2012 and added the house next door a year later for $3 million.
Now covering almost an acre, DA approval was given earlier this year for the second house to be demolished to make way for a new guest house with a tunnel under the tennis court to connect it to the main residence.
At Balmoral Beach, Wai Ling Chan and Wai Yee Ng, from China, have more than doubled the size of the Esther Road property they bought in April for $6.2 million through Belle Property’s Tim Foote by doing an off-market deal worth $6.2 million for the battle-axe block next door belonging to property developer Peter Papas.
In Clifton Gardens, locals say the owners of two Federation mansions on Prince Albert Street have split the costs of buying a $5 million property behind them to open them up to rear parking access and extra garden space.
Selling agent David Murphy, who sold the Eastway family’s long-held home, was tightlipped on the buyer’s details, but records show the neighbours pinpointed as the buyers are Christine Hooper, wife of Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner Chris Pagent, and former Macquarie executive Warwick Morris and his partner Dr Lee Hardwick.
Amanda Wanless, wife of National Recycling Group chairman Dean Wanless, bought their Balmoral slopes home on Glencarron Avenue in 2013 for $6.3 million and added the next-door property the following year for $4.9 million.
Plans were lodged with council this year to consolidate the two lots and dwellings into one home.
Childcare entrepreneur Brendan McAssey has created a family compound on the prized Plunkett Road, which he bought three years ago for $11.25 million. He took possession of the Alex Popov-designed residence next door this year for $17.34 million.
“The people who are amalgamating sites already live in premium locations that they don’t want to leave, so given the chance to just expand their holdings, they’re going to do it,” said Geoff Smith, of Ray White Lower North Shore.
Site amalgamations are nothing new in Mosman, particularly on the highly prized millionaire’s row along the headland between Balmoral Beach and Chinamans Beach, where grocery businessman Roy Manassen and his wife Cindy spent $13.9 million in the late 1990s consolidating their 4770-square-metre holding.
Next door, thoroughbred racing breeder John Messara has outlaid $17 million amassing his 2500-square-metre family compound since 2002, and in June he transferred the street-front residence to his son, investment banker Mike Messara, for $10 million.
Ros Oatley, daughter of the late winemaker and yachtie Bob Oatley, expanded the garden of her $15.5 million home by paying $19 million in 2011 for the half-renovated mansion next door.
Greg Karedis, the only son of liquor baron Theo Karedis, bought his waterfront home in 2005 for $14.8 million, and created a street-to-waterfront estate by buying his neighbour’s home for $4.25 million the following year.
Private equity investor Thomas Fussell and his wife Louise spent $11 million on their Chinamans Beach home in 2004, and $6.6 million expanding it in 2007.
Their neighbour artist Ken Done and his wife Judy spent a decade from the 1980s acquiring three properties to create their Chinamans Beach holding.