Record mansion deal wrapped up in three weeks

THE Chinese buyer who splashed a Victorian record price on a worn Toorak mansion plans to restore the historic home and move in, the selling agent has revealed.

Now that the deal has settled, new details surrounding the secret $39 million sale of 18 St Georges Rd have emerged, including that the entire off-market deal took place within just three weeks.

The transaction of 1920s residence Mowbray and its massive 5000sq m block shattered Victoria’s residential price record mid-last year — trumping the former $26.25 million benchmark belonging to a new mansion at 9 Towers Rd, Toorak.

Malvern’s Stonington Mansion now has the state’s top price after selling to a Chinese buyer for $52.5 million this year.

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RT Edgar Toorak director Oliver Booth signed a confidentiality agreement that has prevented him from speaking about the landmark St Georges Rd deal for the past eight months.

But that expired with the property’s settlement on Monday, allowing him to discuss certain details.

Mr Booth said the sale to Chinese buyer Qi Yang had been approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board and was wrapped up within about three weeks of him securing the lucrative listing.

The $39 million sale price had been in the sights of the mansion’s seller — former Mirvac director Marina Darling — from day one, he said: “That was her price, she wasn’t going to take a cent less.”

Mr Booth said he found the buyer on his substantial overseas buyer database and knew “pretty much straight away that they wanted to buy it”.

“It’s a large landholding with a large family home in triple-A Toorak,” he said.

“I’ve got several other genuine buyers who are looking for something like it, but there’s nothing available.”

The 25-year-old agent said the buyer planned to renovate and repair the mansion, and migrate to Melbourne to live in it.

Toorak Village Residents Action Group president Eddie Young told the Herald Sun last year the residence was “not in very good condition”, having suffered fire damage and exposing a small hole in the roof.

But it had a “majestic” air to it, was extremely private and occupied one of the suburb’s biggest blocks.

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Mr Young said at the time the mansion’s lack of heritage protection had caused some locals to worry it could follow in the footsteps of the grand 1913 home next door at 16 St Georges Rd, which was bought by a Chinese businessman for $18.5 million in 2013 and demolished two years later.

CoreLogic records indicate No. 18 had previously sold for $4.9 million in 1995, and for $3.95 million in 1987.

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