Former Split Enz member Noel Crombie is selling one of Melbourne’s most distinctive commercial properties, in Canterbury.
Emulation Hall, also known as Chatham Hall, was built as a masonic centre by Freemasons Victoria between 1927-28 and utilised until 2013.
Said to be one of Australia’s last examples of Egyptian Revivalism design, the fraternity sold 3 Rochester Road in 2015, banking $1.4 million.
Mr Crombie, along with Nicole Fraser and Sally Mill were the buyers.
The trio in 2016 fully restored the exterior and refurbished the internal space as an events venue – retaining many original fixtures and fittings.
It is for sale now via GormanKelly’s Nick Breheny and Aldo Galante, and should trade for more than $3 million.
Opposite a council car park, the double storey building sits on a 792 sqm plot at the edge of the Canterbury Road retail precinct, near the suburb’s train station.
The quaint Maling Road retail strip is also in the immediate vicinity.
Canterbury, one of Melbourne’s most exclusive suburbs, is 11 kilometres east of the city.
Mr Breheny said any incoming owner has the option of retaining 3 Rochester Road as an investment.
The vacant space, able to accommodate 400 patrons, is configured with two large entertaining rooms (one pictured, above), a supper room, bar and commercial kitchen.
It has the potential to earn about 200,000 in annual rent.
“The building has been meticulously renovated from the stumps to the roof top,” Mr Breheny said, adding 3 Rochester Road has ongoing use rights as a place of assembly.
Owner occupiers which could show an interest include child care operators, church and other not-for-profit groups, aged care accommodation providers or private schools.
Alternatively, Mr Breheny said, a grand home could be redesigned out of the 770 sqm internal space.
Emulation Hall sits on land zoned General Residential.
The brokers are closing an expressions of interest campaign for 3 Rochester Road on November 7, 2019.
The unique building was designed by Dunstan Reynolds and Partners, whose principal, Bennett Dunstan Reynolds was a lodge member.
Mr Dunstan Reynolds also lived in nearby Knutsford Street, Balwyn (a row we reported in 2017, accommodated the suburb’s then most valuable residential sale).
Emulation Hall was configured with a reception room, ball-room style main hall with a stage and bar and an upstairs Lodge Room, with chambers, a dressing room, bathrooms and storage areas.
According to this link at website lodgedevotion.net, journal Victorian Craftsman said that “upon a very fine site, and close to Canterbury railway station, a great building is in progress which promises to vie with any of our most imposing Masonic edifices”.
At an opening ceremony, members placed ritual objects – coins, a scroll and daily newspapers, amongst them – into the wall cavity.
The New Zealand born entertainer wore several hats during his time with Split Enz, including as percussionist, drummer and music video director.
According to his Wikipedia post, Mr Crombie was a postal assistant and artist, before joining the band.
Split Enz broke up in 1984.
Now a designer, Mr Crombie’s work could be seen on the set of ABC quiz show Spicks and Specks.