Veteran commercial real estate agent Graeme Watson and his wife Julie have listed for sale their Portsea holiday home.
The Burgess Rawson director was the first buyer to snap up a residence within the historic castle-themed Delgany when a Richard Buxton led syndicate announced a redevelopment 13 years ago.
Including the mansion’s flagpole, the c325 square metre property is constructed into the limestone building’s northern wing – and opens to an on-title stretch of rolling lawn.
Sotheby’s director Rob Curtain describes 1 Armytage Drive as “simply irreplaceable and the penultimate within this exclusive Portsea community”.
Delgany nears a century old
Designed by Harold Desbrowe Annear for Harold Armytage, who at the time owned South Yarra’s Como House, Delgany was constructed from 1922 on land chosen for being at one of the suburb’s highest points.
The businessman and pastoralist died six months after the residence was completed following which it was occupied by his sisters. Between 1942-1946 it was used as an army camp hospital.
The Dominican Sisters utilised the estate for decades after that as a deaf-mute school – also undertaking a major extension which was sympathetic to Delgany’s style.
In the late 1980s the property was converted into a luxury resort with revered restaurateurs Hermann and Faye Schneider operating a venue within an area that forms part of the Watson home ground floor.
In 2006, a syndicate led by Mr Buxton converted the dwelling into 18 residences and built nine units and six houses on other parts of the 3.6 hectare holding. A sandstone garage was fit out with a resident-only gym and multi-lane lap pool, too.
Delgany is opposite The Cutting, near Fishermans Beach. Residents also have direct access to Portsea Golf Club (story continues below).
Delgany’s north wing: 1 Armytage Drive
During the redevelopment period, Mr Watson appointed revered architectural designer Stephen Akehurst to reconfigure and renovate the interior.
It now contains a Raffles-style north facing loggia facing the private garden which overlooks Delgany’s grounds and golf course.
The ground floor also includes a guest bedroom, dining area and two lounges – one with an original fireplace.
A second storey is configured with two more bedrooms, both with an ensuite and opening to a wraparound balcony.
The third level is a dedicated castle tower, also a flag room, leading to a rooftop observation deck with views to Queenscliff and Melbourne’s city skyline.
The offering also includes two car parks and a storeroom.
Mr Curtain and colleague Patrick Sinn are quoting $3.9-$4.35 million for what they call “a once in a lifetime opportunity”.
Mr Watson started his career in 1970 with JLL, moving to Woolworths as its property development manager then, in 1987, to CBRE as its Retail Agency head. Two years later the executive began with Burgess Rawson as director and principal.