Potential buyers are already lining up for the opportunity to buy what agents are describing as the most exclusive gated residential estate Avalon Beach has ever seen.
Agents at LJ Hooker offices at Avalon Beach and Palm Beach have started taking expressions of interest in nine homes, which millionaire financier Peter Higgins hopes to build on his massive waterfront estate at 96-104 Cabarita Rd.
SIGN UP HERE FOR THE NSW REAL ESTATE NEWSLETTER
And already they have more than 100 interested parties — despite the fact that the development application was only submitted to Northern Beaches Council in the days before Christmas.
“This is an amazing estate with unparalleled level of prestige and luxury — it is the first prestigious waterfront subdivision of this calibre ever in this area,” Claudio Marcolongo, of LJ Hooker Avalon said.
“We are getting a lot of inquiry and expecting a lot more in the weeks to come.”
At 12,685sqm, Marara is Sydney’s largest private beachfront property, and has been held by Mr Higgins, the co-founder of Mortgage Choice, and his wife Rebecca, since 2003.
The couple have been trying to sell the site for a number of years, and were believed to be looking for up to $30 million at one stage. The last reported price guide in 2017 was around $26 million.
But they have decided to try to develop the property themselves, lodging plans to for an 11-lot subdivision of the site, which is currently on a number of titles. Mr Higgins plans to retain one of the lots as Torrens title, a large waterfront holding with an existing home on it, and eventually build a new house (subject to council approval).
The remaining 10 lots will for community title, with nine of them set aside for houses. The additional lot will be a community lot.
Mr Higgins said the new development would be known as the Marara Estate.
“It’s been Marara since 1901, and it means flying fish in Tahitian, and I think it is important to keep the tradition,” he said.
He said he plans to retain the large private waterfront lot on which he will eventually build a new home. In the meantime they will stay in the existing old home on the property.
“It’s been our home since 2003 and we’ve looked everywhere to find somewhere else, but there’s no place like home for us,” he said.
The couple, who are heavily involved in polo, also have a 200ha property in Richmond, where they spend some of their time.
MORE: Australia’s billion dollar suburb
Mega mansion gets $138m discount
Over the years, the couple has come up with a range of ideas for the Avalon property, including a large home, a medium density villa development or a subdivision.
Mr Higgins said plenty of developers had offered big bucks for the property — at one time he was looking for about $30 million — but he and his wife were not comfortable with what they had in mind for the site.
“I considered many offers from developers but that wasn’t in the best interests of the estate,” he said.
“So we said, let’s just do it how we want it. We’re really proud of what we’ve come up with.”
He paid tribute to architect Mark Hurcum and agents from LJ Hooker Avalon and Palm Beach for their valuable input in creating a product that would not only blend in with the environment but also meet a niche in the market.
Mr Higgins said prices had not yet been set for the homes, but he speculated the four waterfront properties could sell for between $8,000,000 and $10,000,000. The other homes would probably sell for slightly less than that, he said.
“We will build some to start with to get the ball rolling,” he said.
The property has plenty of history. Originally built for Sir Herbert Henry Schlink, Chairman of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for 28 years from 1934, founder of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and one of Australia’s most distinguished doctors, Marara has had only two owners over the past 80-plus years.
The property has 119m of deep waterfrontage and a jetty, and is set across six titles.
The subdivision application was lodged with Northern Beaches Council in December, to subdivide the property. It proposes to subdivide the property, into one large Torrens title lot and 10 community title lots.
Mr Higgins has lodged separate development applications to build luxury two-storey homes on nine of the community title blocks. The remaining lot will be a community lot of 1258sqm.
“All lots will enjoy access to the foreshore and a dinghy storage area via stairway,” according to the application’s statement of environmental effects.
Each home will include three to four bedrooms, multiple living areas, two-car garage, kitchen and dining area.
“The forms of the buildings are inspired by natural elements visible from Pittwater,” says the statement.
“Each house is unique and varied, with shapes that mimic sandstone outcrops with shaded overhangs set among trees.”
Construction will be primarily concrete and masonry with sandstone elements.
The houses have been designed to accommodate ageing occupants and families, and all have lifts between main levels. The primary living levels are flat slabs and have no steps or height changes.
The houses face views to Careel Bay and north towards Sandy Point. The main living areas and deck are also oriented to maximise northern aspect.
The median house sale price for Avalon Beach is $1,830,000, which represents a solid five-year growth of 69 per cent.
However Cabarita Rd is home to some of the northern beaches’ most exclusive and priciest homes.
Just down the road is Finisterre, the family estate of the late wine magnate Bob Oatley. Finisterre holds the title of the area’s most expensive property, and was bought by Mr Oatley in 2002 for $20 million.
And Cooinda, another home in Cabarita Rd, sold in October 2017 for close to $12,995,000.