A businessman from the IT industry is believed to have paid more than $12 million, off-market, for La Verna, a renovated 120-year-old Italianate mansion in tree-lined Sackville Street, near Carey Baptist Grammar School.
The purchase, in May according to title records, is believed to be the highest reported price paid for a property in Melbourne this year. It also sets a new record for Kew.
La Verna’s various incarnations have been as a monastery, grief counselling centre and Catholic school retreat.
In 2002, developer Phillip Watts offered the Catholic Church, which owned La Verna, $8.3 million for the then 1.2-hectare estate which stretched back to Rowland Street, another of Kew’s blue ribbon streets.
Mr Watts, who could not be contacted, controversially subdivided the estate into seven blocks, which have since been redeveloped into several large houses, many with tennis courts. The La Verna mansion, on 3316 square metres, was converted into a home and quietly put on the market last year, sources say.