South Yarra family home purchased for resort

The consortium rebuilding Sorrento’s Continental Hotel has acquired one of South Yarra’s grandest estates – it is understood, for a sister resort.

Until settlement, Poolman House is one of South Yarra’s biggest privately owned residential land holdings.

Poolman House, at the south west corner of Domain and Punt roads, is costing Trenerry Group and the Kanat and Smorgon families under $20 million.

It was offered by aged care investor John Matthies last year.

On 2753 sqm, it is, until settlement, one of the suburb’s largest private residential land holdings (a nearby Domain Precinct home owned by the Myer family is believed to be bigger).

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The family home is understood will be renovated into a five-star hotel with open-to-the-public dining, drinking and event spaces, surrounded by multiple pools, spas and treatment rooms.

It could share the Soho House brand with a component of the Continental redevelopment according to sources; Soho is controlled by UK millionaire Nick Jones.

The Kanat and Smorgon families and Trenerry Group paid c$14.5m for that historic property last year.

In 2012 Mr Matthies purchased South Yarra’s then largest private land holding – Saint Cloud, on 5600 sqm – only to sell it in 2017 as an aged care development site (story continues below).

Poolman House contains six bedrooms and several lounge and dining areas.

In January the businessman sold an 8624 sqm Phillip Island block to a group proposing a multi-level luxury resort.

The house will become a five-star hotel.

Poolman House at 255 Domain Road

Prestige Homes of Victoria’s Sean Cussell marketed Poolman House but declined to comment other than to confirm a sale.

Mr Matthies, also once a Richmond Football Club director, paid $2.7m in 2000.

The c1865 dwelling contains six bedrooms and a ballroom said to have hosted prime ministers Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott and treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

It is surrounded by Paul Bangay designed gardens and a tennis court facing Punt Rd.

Former owners include car dealer Noel Gould and interior designer John Coote – the latter who undertook a major renovation highlighting the heritage features.

Also once known as Glenronald, Poolman House is opposite c1857 Elinbank House, the long-time German Embassy, which was three years ago renovated and sold for $8.5m as a prestige home.

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Marc Pallisco

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