A development group led by Geelong property mogul Robert Costa has bought a waterfront mansion at Rippleside and revealed plans for a residential development.
CostaFox Developments has signed an $11.3m deal on extended terms to purchase the 12,742sq m site from Catholic charity MacKillop Family Services.
The property at 9 Helen Street and 39 Bay Street, Rippleside comprises the old Stella Maris Convent, a number of older residential buildings and MacKillop’s Geelong operations.
The National Trust-registered two-storey Italianate mansion was built in 1849, was formerly known as St Helens — one of the city’s earliest mansions.
The Sisters of Mercy acquired the building, which overlooks St Helens beach and boat ramp, in 1923.
CostaFox development director Geno Hubay said the mansion would be refurbished as part of the scheme to add prestige homes and apartments to the surrounding vacant land in sympathy with the landmark.
CostaFox managing director Michael Fox said they wanted to restore the old mansion, one of the earliest in Geelong.
“It’s one of the first mansions in Geelong so we wanted to keep that and bring it back to life,” he said.
Planning for the boutique development was in an early stage, he said.
Rothelowman Architects has been retained for the project.
MacKillop Family Services is expected to relocate its Rippleside operation to an alternate site.
Mr Fox said Geelong had been on the firm’s radar for some time, given the Costa family’s strong ties to the area.
Mr Costa is the company’s chairman.
“But we needed a site that allowed us to showcase our high end offerings,” Mr Fox said.
“Our Rippleside site has uninterrupted, commanding views over Corio Bay and back to the Geelong CBD and is also surrounded by parkland.
“We believe Geelong will continue its enormous recent growth and still offered a great alternative to escalating Melbourne prices.
“Working from home is now a much more acceptable lifestyle choice and buyers would be able to live waterfront at affordable prices compared to Melbourne.”
Rippleside is a small suburb hugging the western shore of Corio Bay.
The suburb has been under intense development focus recently, the largest being the massive Balmoral Quay project turning a former shipyard into a high-end residential estate. The final stages of the project are presently on the market.
The site is less than a kilometre from North Geelong train station and Melbourne Road.
There is a daily ferry service from central Geelong to Melbourne, and the Spirit of Tasmania is relocating its Victorian terminal to nearby Corio Quay in 2022.
The suburb has a $874,000 median house price but is very tightly held.
A four-bedroom house on nearby waterfront Cliff Street sold for $2.215m in early December was the most expensive recent sale, while the record is held at 31 Balmoral Crescent, which sold for $3.325m last September.
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