Shannon Bennett sells historic Burnham Beeches to Smorgon consortium

Trenerry Property Group with the Smorgon and Kanat families own Sorrento’s Continental Hotel.

Former celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and property investor Adam Garrison have sold Sherbrooke’s historic Burnham Beeches.

South Yarra’s Poolman House sold for $18.25 million last year.

The 22.7 hectare property containing several historic buildings including a distinctive 1930s Art Deco mansion designed by Harry Norris for Aspro founder Alfred Nicholas, has collected $16.6 million from a consortium comprising the Smorgon and Kanat families and Trenerry Property Group.

A major restoration with restaurants, an art gallery and accommodation – which the former owners obtained a permit for several years ago – will now proceed with some modifications.

Mr Bennett separated from his partner of 13 years, actress Madeleine West, in 2018.

Both now based in Byron Bay, the pair last year banked $24m selling their former family home in Toorak’s tree-lined Lansell Road to Robert Zagame.

Burnham Beeches

The Trenerry Consortium, as it is known, acquired Burnham Beeches after a direct negotiation with the former owner.

The new owner has engaged placemaking agency Village Well to work on an updated master-plan, in consultation with the local community.

“We are pleased to be embarking on this regenerative journey with the local community and to be working on such a significant and unique site which is both locally loved and globally distinctive,” Village Well managing director Gilbert Rochecouste said.

“The immediate priority will be to work with Heritage Victoria and council on a number of building orders to be urgently addressed across the site,” the owner added.

Hamilton Marino, which worked on the consortium’s recent $135m restoration of Sorrento’s Continental Hotel, will be called in.

The Trenerry Consortium also hold South Yarra’s historic Poolman House, which it plans to convert into a luxury resort – a sister venue to the Continental and now, presumably, Burnham Beeches (story continues below).

Operating in some capacity later this year: owners

Trenerry director Robert DiCinito said the consortium hopes to create a legacy of bringing Victorian heritage buildings back to life, while also investing in the experience economy.

“When the opportunity to purchase Burnham Beeches was presented to us, we knew we had to make it happen,” he added.

“The property has such a rich history and its surrounds are incredible, especially when you consider its only 40 minutes from the centre of Melbourne,” according to the executive.

“We know there’s a really strong community sentiment around [it] and we want to work with council and the community together with Heritage Victoria and Parks Victoria to ensure this is a place to be enjoyed for generations to come.

“There’s a lot to work through even in this initial stage, and years of work ahead.

“We are both respectful and excited, if not somewhat daunted, by the journey ahead but I believe with the support of Burnham’s passionate stakeholders together with our proven track record, we can see it operating in some capacity later this year”.

Mr Garrison acquired Burnham Beeches in 2010.

Late last year a Swanston St office developed by Mr Nicholas sold for c$80m.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of