The Caulfied North mansion that sold last week for $11 million has a tangled history of money, murder and canny property development.
Rosecraddock, a heritage-listed six-bedroom mansion, is understood by The Age to have sold for $11 million, but estate agents involved in the deal are tight-lipped about the property's new owner and final price.
The Victorian-era home with its ballroom, pool and six-car garage failed to get the $15 million asked for when first listed last year.
Nevertheless, its sale for almost $10 million more than the suburb's median home price of $1,301,500 will set a record for the area and net a tidy profit for vendor Simone Semmens, a former Channel Seven newsreader turned property wheeler and dealer.
Ms Semmens is believed to have brought the home for $7.8 million in 2007 and subsequently carved it up, selling off five other lots for up to $6.8 million.
After her success with Rosecraddock, Ms Semmens is also set to reap a multi-million dollar windfall from her plans to subdivide and sell off a portion of another landmark Victorian estate, Edzell House on St Georges Road in Toorak.
She bought the 30-room Elizabethan Revival mansion for $11 million late last year from architect Michael Spivakovsky, son of famed pianist Jascha Spivakovsky.
In June, Ms Semmens put an 1800-square-metre slice of the prime Yarra riverfront estate — which amounts to less than one-third of the land — up for sale at $9 million.
If she finds a buyer at that price, Ms Semmens will ultimately have paid just $473 per square metre for Edzell House and its sprawling grounds, close to the $435 per square metre a buyer paid for a 1960s three-bedroom family home in Dandenong North last weekend.
Listing agent David Colbran declined to comment. But industry sources say the asking price for the allotment may have since been reduced to $7.5 million.
At Rosecraddock the new owner, believed to be a director at Kmart, will have to deal with the home's grisly history.
It was the scene of the 2005 murder of eccentric millionaire Peter Shellard who lived in the mansion for 21 years.
Mr Shellard had a reputation for combative disputes with neighbours and in one instance was caught breaking into the local council offices through the roof.
In 2005, he was bludgeoned twice, tied up and injected with heroin by his former girlfriend Shirley Withers who had run a clothing boutique in Brighton with his financial help.
The pair had fallen out, putting Withers under financial stress.
Withers and two accomplices, drug dealers Stanley Callinicos and Sophia Stoupas, sedated Mr Shellard with the aim of forcing him to sign documents to transfer his property's ownership.
Soon after Mr Shellard died, Withers arranged for an undercover policeman posing as a hitman to kill Callinicos and Stoupas so they would not talk.
She was found guilty of murder in 2007 and sentenced to 26 years' jail with a non-parole period of 18 years, a conviction later quashed and reduced to 13 years for manslaughter.
There was no requirement by law for agents to inform prospective buyers of a home's history, however sordid its past, said the Real Estate Institute of Victoria's Robert Larocca.
"An agent is required to be honest. If an untoward event has happened in the house and the agent knows that, they have to give an honest answer if asked," Mr Larocca said.
Rosecraddock's colourful history
- 1857: Original seven-room brick home built.
- 1870: Added to, and occupied, by the Langdon family for 114 years.
- 1984: Brought by Peter Shellard for $1.4 million. His plans to demolish home and subdivide the land thwarted by heritage listing.
- 2005: Shellard murdered by former girlfriend Shirley Withers intent on getting the property.
- 2007: Brought by Simone Semmens for $7.8 million.
- 2009: Land subdivided into 5 blocks and on-sold.
- 2011: Renovated Rosecraddock on market for $15 million.
- 2012: Sold for $11 million.