The former family home of Skyhooks guitarist and media personality Red Symons will be auctioned on March 25, with high hopes it will set a price record for inner-northern Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy North.
The five-bedroom, 50-square house at 89 Alfred Crescent is in Fitzroy North’s dress circle – a broad arc of road that sweeps around the 24 hectares of rolling lawns, trees, specimen plants and playing fields of the Edinburgh Gardens.
The single-level house – opposite one of the Gardens’ cricket fields – has an agent’s price guide of $4.5 million-$4.8 million.
Symons and his wife Elly bought the house for their family of three boys for $730,000 in 1998. Elly Symons is selling the property following the couple’s divorce last year.
Selling agent Arch Staver, of Nelson Alexander, said the existing record price for a North Fitzroy house was for 34 McKean Street, around the corner from the Symons’ house. It sold for $4.7 million in 2015.
Houses on Alfred Crescent are tightly held and when sales occur they are often off-market; No.87, next door to the Symons’, sold off-market in September 2016 for $4.25 million.
“You have no neighbours opposite you – just this expansive wedge of green,’’ Mr Staver said of Alfred Crescent’s appeal. “You don’t have to sacrifice proximity to the city, but you get this large, green space.”
The sprawling, luxuriously appointed Victorian villa has its multiple bedrooms and bathrooms centred around a massive indoor-outdoor entertainment area.
Mr Staver said the spacious single-level layout might appeal to baby-boomers “with dodgy knees” looking to accommodate kids, grandchildren and guests in its zoned areas.
He knows the Symons well, having sold 89 Alfred Crescent to them in 1998. The house has since been renovated – as have the Gardens. In an ongoing 15-year beautification project, Yarra Council has removed several redundant council buildings from the parkland.
Mr Staver said the Symons’ seven-fold house price rise since purchase matched increases in other exclusive Melbourne neighbourhoods.
“In the ’90s you could buy a spectacular home in Toorak for $1.5 million-$2 million, and those would now sell for $10 to $15 million,’’ he said.
The inner-north has also enjoyed a boom in recent years as maturing hipsters have discovered North Fitzroy and neighbouring Brunswick and Northcote.
Mr Staver said the Symons’ house was more likely to be bought by a local, rather than an émigré from south of the Yarra, or beyond.
“Most of the interest has been from locals who love the location and are not worried about a car park,” he said. (The house covers its block from boundary to boundary, with a front garden and internal courtyard, but has no off-street parking.)
Mr Staver said Alfred Crescent has always been considered one of the best addresses in the inner-north because of the Edinburgh Gardens, proximity to the CBD, and its well-preserved heritage streetscape – intact save for one low-rise block of 1970s flats.
“It’s wonderfully intact and I think, in that sense, it’s right up there with St Vincent’s Place in Albert Park,” he said.
The Edinburgh Gardens has ovals, bowling greens, tennis courts, tree-lined paths and a cupola. It is also a favourite location with film and TV scouts and wedding photographers.
Offspring and Jack Irish regularly film in the park. When catering tents for these shows were pitched opposite No.89, Symons sometimes joined casts and crews for lunch following his breakfast radio shift on ABC Radio 774 – his daily gig from 2002-2017.