Real Estate

converted kew lunatic asylum tower trips up at auction

Written by The ReReport

An apartment conversion in the former Kew Lunatic Asylum failed to attract a buyer at auction on the weekend.

BUYERS must have been crazy to pass up the opportunity to snap up a home in a Melbourne landmark at auction yesterday.
The four-bedroom home in the converted tower of the former Kew Lunatic Asylum passed in after a solitary bid of $1.4 million.
But post-auction negotiations were close to sealing a deal late on Saturday.


The tower apartment at 43 Wiltshire Drive is part of the Willsmere estate that was created when the asylum’s 1870s grand Italianate-style building was converted into apartments in the early 1990s.

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Willsmere Hospital/Kew Asylum tower for sale, vendor picThe tower apartment’s owner David O’Callaghan remains confident of selling his Melbourne landmark. Picture: Michael Klein

The property passed in on a $1.4 million vendor bid.

Vendor David O’Callaghan, who has owned the home for 18 years, was philosophical about the false start at auction.
“It’s a quiet market at the moment,” he said. “But it’s a great place and we’re happy to sell at a reasonable price.”

Converted Kew Asylum tower auctionJellis Craig auctioneer Patrick Dennis said buyers should be jumping at the chance to buy the iconic property.

Jellis Craig auctioneer Patrick Dennis said the tower apartment, which rises six levels plus a mezzanine, was one of only two in the estate. The other sold for $1.7 million last year.
Mr Dennis said the softer market presented great opportunities for buyers.
“It’s a great time to buy,” he said. “Three years ago when things were going gangbusters people were ultimately paying above the odds.”
He said the apartment was a rare chance to buy an “absolute unique, very, very iconic property”.
“Everybody knows the two towers, you can see them from miles away,” he told the auction crowd of about 30 people.

The asylum was converted into apartments in the early 1990s.

Post-auction negotiations were in play late Saturday afternoon.

Mr O’Callaghan said the 360-degree views, taking in the CBD, MCG and Dandenong Ranges, were his favourite aspect of the apartment, which he and his family had lived in for about 12 years before renting it out to family friends for the past six years.
Mr Dennis said the views were akin to looking out across Central Park to the Manhattan skyline — but without the New York property price tag.
Mr O’Callaghan’s home headed into the October 13 auction with a price guide of $1.5-$1.65 million.

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