News State Western Australia News Demolition begins on Perth’s $70 million eyesore
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Demolition begins on Perth’s $70 million eyesore

Taj on Swan
The land could be sold as one big block or up to eight smaller plots, the Oswals' listing agent says. Photo: AAP
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Western Australia’s most iconic eyesore is finally being demolished after an epic battle between its fertiliser tycoon owners and the local council.

Pankaj and Radhika Oswal’s $70 million partially built mansion dubbed the ‘Taj on Swan’, in the well-heeled Perth suburb of Peppermint Grove, was abandoned after the couple left Australia in December 2010 following the collapse of their ammonia company, Burrup Holdings.

The home was to include seven domes, a temple, gym, swimming pool and parking for 17 cars.

But the building site has deteriorated, with reports it had become a haven for squatters and drug addicts, and used to host illegal parties.

Taj on the Swan being demolished

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The council has won its long-running battle to tear it down, after the Oswals failed to act on an undertaking in the State Administrative Tribunal to demolish it by September 30.

Peppermint Grove council is owed $108,000 in unpaid rates and the Australian Tax Office has a freeze on the sale of the property over millions in alleged unpaid taxes.

The couple will continue to own the 6600-square-metres block, which sits on prime riverfront real estate in Perth’s wealthiest suburb.

Michael Smith, a spokesman for the couple, told the ABC the Oswals had no problem with the demolition going ahead and they had people “liaising with the council”.

“They plan to sell the property, they will engage consultants to work out the best way to dispose of the land,” he said.

“The contract cost of the demolition is $89,000 plus GST.

“The Oswals have agreed to pay this amount to the council.”

‘A dangerous eye-sore’

The Oswal family paid $22.7 million for the waterfront land in 2007. Photo: ABC
The Oswal family paid $22.7 million for the waterfront land in 2007. Photo: ABC

Peppermint Grove council shire president Rachel Thomas said the demolition would take about three weeks, but locals were happy it was finally happening.

“We are very, very glad that it is going. Apart from being an eyesore it is a dangerous structure,” she said.

Pankaj (L) and Radhika Oswal have agreed to pay for the cost of the demolition.
Pankaj (L) and Radhika Oswal have agreed to pay for the cost of the demolition. Photo: ABC

“It has been a terrible, terrible experience for the neighbours who have never known if they are going to be disturbed at night by kids having a party [in the abandoned site] and it has been a real nightmare for the council because the owners have done nothing, or very little, to secure the property.”

The demolition attracted dozens of onlookers from neighbouring suburbs and afar.

Last month, ANZ reached a commercial settlement with the Oswals after the couple sought $1.5 billion over the terms of sale of their ammonia empire by the bank.

The couple had argued the $US560 million sale of their 65 per cent stake in 2012 represented less than half its true value.

The site has become a magnet for squatters and "anti-social behaviour". Photo: ABC
The site has become a magnet for squatters and “anti-social behaviour”. Photo: ABC
taj on swan
The Indian-styled eyesore was abandoned by the family six years ago. Photo: AAP

-ABC

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