THE sprawling Mt Eliza campus of the Melbourne Business School is being marketed to overseas buyers, with its private beachfront access and buildings expected to fetch as much as $20 million.
The school is selling the 8.9 hectare Kunyung Rd property, partly due to falling interest in regionally-based business courses and a plan expand the school’s Carlton site as a “world-class centre for business education”.
MBS media manager Emily Fear-Gook said the “landscape” for business education had changed since the 1980s when the school moved some of its courses to the peninsula after merging with the Mt Eliza Business School. She said companies were now seeking shorter, inner-city courses, where international clients had easy access to airports.
Ms Fear-Gook said the eight Mt Eliza residents who attended a public information session on 24 July were told there were strict covenants on the building and land, which meant it could only be used for education, religion, religion-based aged-care or primary production.
However, there have been several alterations to the buildings over the years and it is believed only the Tudor-style, red-brick gatehouse is heritage listed.
The site is the part of the former Moondah estate built by James Grice in 1988 and owned in the late 1940s and early 1950s by the late Sir Reginald Ansett.
The property has a vineyard, mixed-use buildings, 95-bedroom accommodation, conference and facilities, offices and four dining rooms.
International real estate firm, CBRE, has launched an international ‘expressions of interest’ campaign, closing 10 August.
The MBS is a non-profit organisation, owned 55 per cent by business and 45 per cent by The University of Melbourne.
Mark Wizel, of CBRE, is quoted on the company’s website as saying he sees the end use as being anything from a “boutique hotel to a grand private residence”, subject to approvals from relevant authorities.
Mr Wizel’s sales assistant Bianca Butterworth said the price “is rather conservative given [the property’s] unique nature”.
“The property currently provides supporting services including hotel and conference facilities and current zoning will also allow for alternate use including health and wellbeing and medical facilities, subject to council approval,” Ms Butterworth said.
The site is part of the early Moondah estate and lies behind the historic, red brick, Tudor-style gatehouse.
Moondah is one of the few reminders of a time when wealthy gentleman sought large tracts of rolling, beachside countryside on which to build their sprawling estates. The 42-room Victorian mansion was set in magnificent gardens, with a vineyard, golf course, tennis court, croquet green and polo field.
Later bought by businessman and aviation mogul Sir Reginald Ansett, Moondah was converted to a luxury hotel in 1947. Ten years later it was sold to the Australian Administrative Staff College, which was founded by the peninsula’s business community with the aim of providing high-quality business and management courses.
The staff college later became the Mt Eliza Business School, which merged with the Melbourne Business School in the 1980s.
Retired Tyabb businessman Peter McCullough once lived next to the property and remembers attending a four-week “intermediate” management course when it was the Australian Administrative Staff College in 1969. Mr McCullough, who worked with the Country Roads Board, said the college was highly regarded within the business community. “There were about 60 other business people at this particular course, and the college ran a range of management courses that were always very popular.”