Celebrity gardeners trade Stonefields, guest house

Stonefields was listed three months ago.

A recently formed boutique hotel operation owned by gardener Jamie Durie, investment banker Kim Jacobs and financier Dominic Lambrinos has snapped up another asset, this time in Victoria’s Hepburn region, for about $11 million.

The Tuscan inspired home, offered by Paul Bangay and Barry McNeill.

At Denver, 15 kilometres north east of Daylesford, the c27.75 hectare holding was offloaded by another landscaper, Paul Bangay.

It contains a four bedroom Tuscan inspired home which the vendor and his husband, Barry McNeill, utilised as a holiday retreat.

Publicly listed last October, it carried $8-$8.8m price hopes.

The land which made way for the house and garden cost $320,000 in 2004.

The latest deal also includes a neighbouring guesthouse, The Lodge, on a parcel which Mr Bangay purchased for $585,000 in 2012.

This component, spreading 11.8ha, was not initially offered as part of last year’s campaign.

Forbes Global Property Australia’s Michael Gibson and Robert Fletcher were the agents.

Site set for luxury accommodation

The Denver property is being acquired by Opulus Hotels – controlled equally by Mr Durie, Mr Jacobs and Mr Lambrinos (story continues below).

The proposed Burnham Beeches resort will contain 39 glamping spots.

A major renovation is planned which will repurpose the main home as a function centre and add about 50 villas; upon completion in 2025, the owners said, it is expected to have a c$70m end value.

The Stonefields acquisition comes four months since Opulus snapped up its maiden property – a 110ha farm at Table Cape, abutting Bass Strait, in north west Tasmania, which came permit-ready for a luxury retreat.

Denver is about 100 kilometres north west of Melbourne.

Another new player

Opulus will be competing in the state’s luxury retreat space with another recently established operation comprising the Kanat and Smorgon families and Robert Dicintio’s Trenerry Group, which last year acquired Sherbrooke’s Burnham Beeches from celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and Adam Garrison, also with plans for a luxury resort.

Known in agency circles as KST, the consortium controls Sorrento’s Continental Hotel too, which recently reopened following a renovation and extension.

As well, the trio have since 2021 owned Poolman House, in South Yarra’s Domain precinct – a former family home presently in planning to be repurposed.

Both KST and Opulus have stated plans to grow respective portfolios.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.