Moonlight Cinema founder James Tutton sets a suburban price record selling historic Melbourne home

Moonlight Cinema founder James Tutton (pictured) is close to selling his historic Coburg home for a speculated price of around $3.3 million – a suburban record.

The entrepreneur, who has directed development company Neometro since selling the cinema business in 2004, bought Koorali on impulse two years ago, before employing designer Clare Cousins Architects to work with him on a flash renovation.

When Koorali (pictured top and left) failed to sell following an expressions of interest campaign ending six weeks ago, Mr Tutton listed it for a private sale asking $3.3 million.

The businessman paid $2.2 million for the home in somewhat similar circumstances (it had previously passed-in at an auction and was for private sale asking $2.4 million).

It is estimated Mr Tutton then invested several hundred thousands of dollars on restoration and an opulent refurbishment.

Neometro has recently been working on redeveloping land near the Jewell train station, in the neighbouring suburb of Brunswick.

The as yet undisclosed sale price of Koorali is believed to have comfortably smashed the Coburg residential record set in April when an unrenovated home in the same street (The Grove) exchanged hands for $2.5 million.


The home

One of a pair of supersized Victorian-style “mansionettes” – Mr Tutton’s outgoing home is semi-attached to a dwelling called Kalimna (which was once occupied by the Clare Grammar School).

The duplex is identified by its French inspired mansard towers, polychromatic bricks and ornate cast iron lacework.

Koorali occupies a 981 square metre block and is configured with four bedrooms, a study and numerous living and dining zones.

Mr Tutton employed Kay & Burton’s Gowan Stubbings and Damon Krongold with Jellis Craig’s Rob Elsom, to market the home this year.


The neighbourhood

Wealthy property developer Montague Dare built the Koorali/Kalimna duplex as part of Coburg’s esteemed Moreland Park Estate.

His vision for the 40-acre farm he bought from John Rennie in the early 1880s included a 147-lot subdivision, grand homes and wide streets.

Today these rows, particularly The Grove and The Avenue, are considered Coburg’s most valuable.


Sorry you missed it? Another home with a similar façade is available in the street

Coincidentally, another mansionette, in a very similar style to Koorali, has just hit the market only metres away.

Waratah, at 47 The Grove, is being quoted with a price guide of between $3 million and $3.3 million ahead of an expressions of interest campaign closing on November 21.

Nelson Alexander’s Jacqui Knapsey and Duncan McPherson are marketing this renovated five bedroom home, which sits on a plot of just over 900 square metres.


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Marc Pallisco

A freelance property writer and experienced analyst, Marc is the co-founder of