Built in the 1930s, using recycled materials from mansions being demolished in the area because of the depression, Beverley Hills at 61 Darling Street is built around a swimming pool, Hollywood-themed in style and surrounded by established palms and a massive Morton Bay Fig Tree, valued by council at about $2 million.
Upon completion, architect and owner Howard Ratcliffe Lawson rented out Beverley Hills apartments, and others he owned in the area, to struggling artists at a discount.
The Beverley Hills parcel of land once stretched eastward up Darling Street, to include the blocks since subdivided and known as 57 Darling Street, now a 5-level block of flats, and 59 Darling Street, the 3-level block of flats recently acquired by the Wadhawan Property Group as a whole for about $4 million.
Wadhawan also acquired prominent sites in Southbank and Middle Park as part of a $57 million spending spree in Melbourne. In Mumbai, where the diversified Wadhawan business is based, the company builds high rise apartments. However it also has a luxury apartment arm.
A spokesman for the Beverley Hills apartment complex admitted owners spent more than $50,000 opposing the neighbouring development, since it was proposed by its previous owner.
The development will eat into space used by Beverley Hills apartment owners for more than 70 years, he says. It will also dwarf the building, which is visible from Alexandra Avenue across Darling Gardens.
Stonnington City Council rejected development application for 59 Darling Street three times, before it was approved by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Stonnington renewed a deveopment permit for the site earlier this week. Wadhawan is understood to have settled on the property on Friday.