Historic Toorak aged care home for sale

Darnlee might become a prestige home for the first time since 1949.

BlueCross is selling the grand Toorak home established as its first aged care facility 30 years ago.

Darnlee, at 33 Lansell Road, is expected to fetch $20-$22 million following a campaign targeting other retirement living operators, developers and prestige buyers.

The Connault in Balwyn, with 30 bedrooms, was also recently listed for sale.

With 47 bedrooms – the bulk in an extension completed in 1997 – the property comes with vacant possession; the vendor announced it would shut the facility in December, with the last residents to move out next month.

The L-shaped Lansell Road holding spreads 3580 square metres.

The listing comes hot on the heels of another vacant aged care home, The Connault, in Balwyn’s tree lined Yarrbat Avenue, hitting the market, also targeting buyers who might convert it to a residence.

That property carries a $15.75-$16.75m guide.

With 47 bedrooms, Darnlee is being marketed to other aged care operators.

Site history

On 3580 square metres, 33 Lansell Rd has the potential to accommodate a tennis court if part of BlueCross’ extension was knocked down.

According to heritage documents, the main home, a red brick Queen Anne, was constructed in 1899 for manufacturer Charles McIntyre.

It was also owned by business identities John Winter-Irving, a pastoralist, and Harold Riggall, a solicitor and founder of law firm Blake & Riggall.

For nine years until 1938 it was held by Sarah McKay, the widow of Sunshine Harvester creator Hugh Victor (HV), who renamed it Rayo de Sol.

Darnlee fell out of private hands in 1949, purchased by the Public Works department, which changed its name again, to Sewell House (story continues below).

The historic Toorak property is expected to sell for over $20 million.

The Red Cross occupied it for a decade until 1976 when it became a teacher’s college.

Between 1985 and 1993, the site was known as the Toorak Professional Development Centre.

RT Edgar’s Antoinette Nido and Jeremy Fox are representing BlueCross.

Who’s who

The western edge of Darnlee abuts the sprawling estate Chemist Warehouse co-owner Mario Verrocchi acquired from the Smorgon family for $19.2m in 2014, and has since renovated.

Other business identities in the immediate area include property investor Colin Delutis and his brother, Paul.

The Country Women’s Association of Victoria’s headquarters, meanwhile, is also in the pocket, built into a c1876 home, Umina, at 3 Lansell Rd.

On 5560 sqm, agency sources speculate that property could fetch over $30m if it were offered.

Darnlee is also near the elaborate Toorak House, the mansion after which the suburb was named, nowadays owned by the Swedish Church.

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Marc Pallisco

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