Deakin University used the three hectare Stonington estate as a campus for a period, but controversially sold it to private developers on Christmas Eve, 2006, despite protests from Stonnington City Council and former federal treasurer Peter Costello.
Since that sale, the heritage listed mansion with frontage to Glenferrie Road was restored and sold to art collector Rod Menzies for $18 million, at the time setting a record price for a Victorian house.
The 1.5 hectare balance sold several times to developers who have obtained permits for a variety of medium density complexes. At one stage the site was controlled by Sydney-based developer Ashington, of which The Apprentice identity Mark Bouris was a director.
In late 2010, Chinese developer Everbright paid $30 million for it. Marshall White is marketing the two adjoining blocks at 15 and 17 Somers Road for them.
Last July, council was called in to evaluate the legality of an imposing seven metre fence separating the housing estate from the Moorakyne Avenue residence of Pacific Brands chief Sue Morphett, and partner, former McKinsey & Company director Charles Sitch. Angry neighbours dubbed the fence “the Great Wall of Malvern”.