Prestigious Melbourne school Scotch College is said to have outmuscled residential buyers to snap up another Hawthorn home – allowing it to expand its sprawling campus.
As expected, the school competed strongly for the three bedroom red brick dwelling – sources saying it paid $3.2 million (against a c$2.3 million price guide). It was listed in July by Marshall White’s Jason Brinkworth and Duane Wolowiec.
The site at 20 Hambledon Road is adjacent to a former residential property on Morrison Street, which Scotch now uses as a car park.
Separating 20 Hambledon Road and this Morrison Road property is a fence which could to be removed to expand the number of school parking bays provided.
Scotch has bought almost every home in the area for more than 15 years including the last one in the vicinity to sell, in 2015.
In 2007, the school paid a reported $3.5 million for two prestigious homes across the road from its Morrison Street entrance – including an unrenovated 1920s home at 6 Hambledon Road, for which it paid about $2 million. A year later it bought 5 Hambledon Road for $2.3 million.
Scotch funded the purchase of these homes from a speculated $5 million-plus compensation package it received when the state government compulsorily acquired land at the school’s northern
boundary to widen the Monash Freeway. The school however did have form as a buyer, paying close to $2 million for homes in the immediate area in 2001 and 2003.
The private college is considered one of Australia’s best with alumni including philosopher Peter Singer, former Victorian state premier Jeff Kennett, and three ex-governor generals of Australia including Peter Hollingsworth.
In March, another private school, Fintona, passed up on the strategic chance to buy one of only a few homes which abut its small campus in Balwyn. Fintona, which charges a pre-Prep annual tuition fee of $20,000, could have bought the 1593 square metre site at 7 Cherry Road for $2.6 million in 2013, or five months ago, when it was offered with a valuable apartment redevelopment permit, and sold to a developer for more than $6 million.
In Kew, in 2014, another prestigious eastern suburb school – Genazzano FJC – expanded its campus paying Telstra more than $1.5 million for an ex-phone exchange.
Some schools have sold property recently too.
In June, Erasmus College banked $8 million trading a 1698 square metre slice of its Riversdale Road, Hawthorn, campus, to developers, following a successful campaign by Gorman Commercial agents Stephen Speck and Stephen Gorman (the property was listed with price hopes of $6 million).
A few years ago, Lowther Hall sold a 2000 square metre Park Street, Moonee Ponds property it bought in 2010. It decided to sell, after settlement, the parent body decided the ex-tennis court training complex (which the school planned to continue using as such) was too far for students to walk.