Elwood is a unique pocket of the Melbourne bayfront; although situated between two of Melbourne’s earliest suburbs, St Kilda and Brighton, Elwood did not experience significant development until the time of Federation. Prior to the 1895 construction of the Elwood Canal, the suburb was the domain of uninhabitable swampland. The Canal was a mixed success and required hefty investment over the years, but the suburb of Elwood first saw the congregation of grandiose bayfront mansions followed by an inland development of California Bungalows, followed by inter-war and art deco homes and small-scale apartment blocks. ‘Ballatar’, one of the later bayfront mansions to be constructed in 1926, features the Spanish Revival architectural stylings popular at the time (and almost creepily similar to Carinya in Toorak and Towart Lodge, also in Toorak). Interestingly enough, Ballatar does not share an architect with either of those estates. Instead, it was designed by Blackett & Foster, noted Georgian Revivalists who departed from their traditional vernacular for a more seaside appropriate Mediterranean style. Today, the home has listed with $3.5m+ expectations.
A c1902 sales subdivision map of Elwood displays the prominent early mansions that line “Beach Road”/”Esplanade”, and the early home allotments north of Ormond Road. The map is considerably out of scale in order to make the home sites appear closer to the water. The approximate location of Ballater is outlined in white.
Ormond Esplanade was among the first stretches of Melbourne bayfront to give way to apartment blocks in the post-war years. Because of this, very few of the original single family homes exist on the road today making Ballater a slightly difficult home to comp. Thankfully, the home itself sold in a post-renovated state in late 2005 for $2.95m (and for $1.925m in 2001). The home has not been altered since its last sale. A smaller home on a 798sqm parcel at #67 sold earlier this year for $2.92m. A similar sized home on a 1,400sqm parcel at #31 sold in September 2010 for $4.2m, making Ballater’s $3.5m+ expectations seem almost suspiciously conservative. Mind you, Ballater’s 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom structure stands on a 1,045sqm corner block. Then again, give this home a Brighton address and the pricing would be far more aggressive, especially this season. There are handful of $8m+ Brighton properties currently floating on the market.
The listing: ‘Ballater’, 39 Ormond Esplanade, Elwood
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