Sunday, 23 February 2020

Mystery surrounds the $60 million Chinese-owned vacant estates of Toorak, Melbourne

By Tom Cowie
February 23, 2020 — 12.00am
Nearly $60 million worth of real estate in one of Toorak's most-exclusive streets has been reduced to a patch of dirt, with mystery surrounding what's going to happen to it.

On well-heeled St Georges Road, where two grand mansions once stood side by side, sits a couple of Melbourne's priciest vacant blocks after bulldozers razed both properties.

Melbourne real estate records were smashed a few years ago when a Chinese buyer paid just under $40 million for the 1920s Mowbray mansion at 18 St Georges Road.

The gates of Mowbray remain after a 1930s mansion was knocked down in Toorak.CREDIT:LUIS ENRIQUE ASCUI

The palatial six-bedder, sitting on 5000sqm with a swimming pool and tennis court, succumbed to the dozer blade in recent months after it was damaged by fire and vandals started getting inside the vacant property.

The gates bearing the Mowbray name are still standing.

Title documents show the property belongs to a buyer by the name of Qi Yang. The Australian Financial Review reported at the time that Mr Qi won Foreign Investment Review Board approval to buy the land, which came with a hefty $5 million stamp duty bill.

The City of Stonnington said no plans had been lodged for the property after a demolition permit was granted in May last year.

The vacant block at 16 St Georges Road in Toorak.CREDIT:TOM COWIE

Under the council's planning scheme, a planning permit is only required for two or more dwellings or a subdivision.

There is no sign of tradies next door either, since the Idylwilde mansion was controversially torn down in 2015, prompting an outcry in the community over lost heritage.

Bought for $18.5 million in 2013, the former landmark 1913 estate at 16 St Georges Road is now chock full of weeds and surrounded by security fencing.

The lack of action has prompted speculation about landbanking.

The former house at 16 St Georges Road, Toorak.

Owner Xiaoyan "Kylie" Bao put the property on the market last year with a $40 million plus price guide after plans to build a grand $18 million home were shelved.

However, one buyers' advocate who deals with high-end property said the owner would be lucky to get anywhere near that.

The Idylewilde mansion was destroyed in 2015.CREDIT:EDDIE JIM

"They paid way over the top," the property watcher said.

Those two vacant blocks could soon be joined by another, if a third mansion is demolished further down the street.

A 7200sqm block at 29-31 St Georges Road is quietly up for sale after sitting dormant for nearly three decades.

The rumoured asking price is as much as $75 million, after the property was bought by the Yu family for $5 million in 1991.

A chunk of change like that would obliterate the property record established by Mowbray and later eclipsed when Australia’s former government house, Stonington in Malvern, sold for $52.5 million in 2018.

The former Mowbray mansion at 18 St Georges Road in Toorak.

Several planning applications have been knocked back over the years to build units on the land, however there might finally be a change of ownership around the corner.

A half-built French Renaissance-style house on the land would probably be knocked over, according to selling agent Andrew Baines.

"It's purely land," he said.

The tennis court, pool and mansion are no more at 18 St Georges Road.CREDIT:LUIS ENRIQUE ASCUI

Toorak Village Residents Action Group president Eddie Young said the neighbours were waiting to see what would happen with the properties.

He said he had been told that a single dwelling would be built at 18 St Georges Road, which locals were pleased with.
Next door, however, was another story.

"It's a mystery," he said. "And it looks dreadful."

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Confused? We understand that you may have concerns that we may not have even thought of, so feel free to ask whatever questions you wish.
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As with any new project we are anxious to sell the first few villas.
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Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to review this information and information on the website. If there is any further information we can provide you please do not hesitate to ask.

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Starting as low as $158,888.
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starting as low as $158,888. The leases on these units vary from 34 years to nine years remaining.

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According to PT. B.A.L.I., one of Bali's leading real estate experts for the past 14 years, who have thousands of satisfied clients, this is the “Second best time to purchase Bali Real Estate this century”.

“Second best time to purchase Bali Real Estate this century”.

They believe that recent clarification of Bali real estate laws for foreigners allowing them to obtain control of Bali Real Estate for more than normal life is creating a huge new demand for Indonesian and Bali Real Estate.

Coupled with the fact that Bali Real Estate has recently undergone the first correction in modern history with prices down as much as 50 % this may have set the stage for *increases of 20 % to 100 % in the next three to five years.

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Note from The Seminar Speaker:

Since many of you have busy schedules and are unable to attend our seminars we think you will find our latest Free Bali Real Estate Seminar Video provides an exceptional education that will help you understand Bali real estate laws and allow you to make some substantial profits from Bali real estate investment.

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Feel free to contact me directly for a free private consultation at my office in Sanur.

Lawrence B.M.B, Owner, President, Director
Tel or Whatsapp +628123814014 Email:

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About the Speaker Lawrence. Is the Owner, President and General Manager of 14-year-old Pt. Bali Affordable Lifestyles International (PT. B.A.L.I.). Doing Business as Best Asia Real Estate

His spouse and partner Azizah, is a fully licensed Indonesian Notaris with a master’s degree in Indonesian Law specializing in real estate, corporate and Foreign Marital documentation. 

Together they and their 100 + professional staff provide a one-stop professional, efficient location for Buying, Selling, Leasing and Renting Asian Real Estate.

"Recipients Hall of Fame Award, awarded to only 2 % of the Hotels listed on TripAdvisor Worldwide"
They are a Ten-time Consecutive Certificate of Excellence recipient on the World's Largest Travel Site. This places them among the top 10 % of hotels and villas listed by Tripadvisor worldwide.

Lawrence is also one of Asia’s best-known travel and real estate investment experts. They publish the daily Bali & World News & Views Blog which combined with Bali News and Views Blog has had almost 1,500,000 pageviews. They also publish the Best Asia Real Estate BlogFacebookand Twitter posts. He offers free real estate seminars throughout Asia every quarter. For Free Seminar schedule email to 

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Saturday, 22 February 2020

Bali's hotel bookings plummet 40,000 even though Indonesia is free of Coronavirus Covid-19.

Bali + World News & Views Editor's Comments:
Combined Blogs With Over 1,700,000 Pageviews 
Editor Lawrence -Bali Sunset

I like most fathers in Bali have been very concerned about coronavirus since I started tracking it way back in the first weeks of January.

I have also since research the concern as the owner and manager of a small hotel in Bali PT. Bali Luxury Villas.

When I talked to fellow Hotel Owners and managers recently at our annual meeting it was very sad to hear discerning news about hotel occupancies being down 50 to 70% because of the virus.
Bali hotel managers and owners attending skull luncheon with out any mask.

I feared that we might also endure the same pain but for some reason, we managed to so far avoid the downturn and kept occupancies at very similar to last year. We hope this continues!

The posts recently that Bali is a ghost town are a complete hoax. 

I had to personally drive around yesterday because my driver was on holiday and found just as many people on the streets as normal with plenty of tourists buzzing around as well.

Last night we went to one of the largest Japanese restaurants on Sunset Road and found the restaurant full at 9 pm.

So no doubt there has been a serious effect on Bali tourism as reflected below but it's not as bad as it appears.

No confirmed Coronavirus in Indonesia 

The number one thing to remember as of this very moment there have been no confirmed reported courses of coronavirus in Indonesia, which of course includes Bali.

As a father, I was extremely concerned four weeks ago when this all started I saw the dramatic rise in daily infected cases.

I insisted that my sons wear surgical masks to school

The past few days I have stopped that request as I've been seeing very positive numbers on the daily percentages of people infected which at one point this week was 0%.
The last few days it's only been one percent and in its primarily in China.  

Although there have been a few outbreaks in Iran and S. Korea I sincerely believe that they have very strong control over their citizens and will get those under control very quickly as well.

I sincerely believe at this point there is a very good chance that a year from most will have forgotten about coronavirus.

I also believe that there's a very good chance that Tourists will take advantage of deep discounts on airlines and Bali hotels.

I would not be surprised, unless there's a major negative development in the Coronavirus spreading around the world, that we will have very similar occupancies to 2019 throughout Bali starting in July, August and September of this year.

 Don't Panic:

So my advice is quite simple don't panic. 

If you are a hotel manager or restaurant owner take this time to fine-tune your operation. All the things that you that needed attention in the past and you were too busy to take care of, take care of them now.

In the 22 years I've lived in Bali we've been through dictatorship riots in Jakarata, bombings, recessions, devastating earthquake destruction on our neighbour Islands, and fears of a volcanic eruption. This too shall pass.

As one person said after the Bali bombings Bali is still Paradise, nothing can change that/. 
 "Bali is still Paradise, nothing can change that"
If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Source: A Choice of Kipling's Verse (1943)

Hotel bookings plummet by 40,000 in recent weeks as ban on incoming flights from China bites local businesses.

Global development is supported by

Krithika Varagur Thu 20 Feb 2020 02.14 GMTLast modified on Fri 21 Feb 2020 00.48 GMT

An Indonesian health official checks the body temperature of a foreign tourist travelling from Bali to another Indonesian island. Photograph: Moh El Sasaky/AFP via Getty Images

The idyllic holiday island of Bali has been hit by the ripple effect of the coronavirus crisis, with tourism plummeting and suggestions it “does not have the capacity” to treat patients if they become sick.

Indonesia, the largest country in south-east Asia, claims to have no cases of coronavirus, but according to the Bali’s tourism board, there have been around 40,000 cancellations of hotel bookings in recent weeks nonetheless. In the first half of February about 740,000 people visited the island – 16.25% fewer than the same period last year – Bali’s airport spokesman told state news agency Antara this week.

Chinese tourists account for about one in six of the island’s visitors, and since Indonesia banned all incoming flights from China on 5 February, their absence has hit hard.

What is coronavirus and what should I do if I have symptoms?

“We feel like there has been a significant downturn in terms of sales and customers,” says Michelle Anindya, head of development at Seniman coffee studios in the popular tourist hub of Ubud, in central Bali.

I Ketut Panjul, a driver based in Ubud, says the change has been very difficult: “As you know, tourism is the main part of our economy here. Ever since the government banned flights from China, it has been really slow,” he said.

January and February are already the low season in Bali, after the Christmas holiday bustle, but according to David Abraham, co-founder of Outpost, a co-working community with three locations on the island, “the main issue right now is the closed air travel routes from China”.

“It affects not only Chinese tourists but other Asian tourists as well,” Abraham said, adding that demand from Australian and other non-Asian tourists had remained stable so far.

Indonesia has been heavily criticised for potential under-reporting of coronavirus in its population of 262 million, especially after a Harvard public health study came out last week projecting that Indonesia should have found at least 10 affected patients by now.

Adang Bachtiar, a public health expert at the University of Indonesia, said Bali “does not have the capacity” to adequately treat patients if they become affected on the island.

“The only laboratories that can even test for the virus right now are in Jakarta, so if someone were to get sick in Bali or Lombok, it’s concerning,” he said. “We are still very weak at both detection and management of this virus, especially outside Jakarta.”

More than 230 Indonesian citizens were evacuated from China and quarantined on Natuna Island for two weeks, but have reportedly all have tested negative for the virus and were released on Sunday.

But there have been concerns about the Chinese man who was on holiday in Bali last month, from 22 to 28 January, and later tested positive for coronavirus on his return to China. Bali tourist officials say they have checked the hotel where he stayed and no one appears to have been affected. The World Health Organization says the general incubation period for the disease is 14 days.

Business-related travel is also down: several conferences and meetings on Nusa Dua, a resort area in southern Bali, have been cancelled this month, preventing the arrival of at least 5,200 visitors, the managing director of the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation says.

“But Bali’s been through a lot,” notes Abraham. “The volcano [Mount Agung, which spewed ash in a minor eruption in 2019 ], before that the bombings, and so on … this is an ongoing cycle,” he said, of events that cause temporary dips in tourism.

Tara Louise, a 31-year-old British nail technician on holiday in Bali, says she is “not worried right now, as I think you should live in the moment, plus it is spreading worldwide currently so it’s unsafe anywhere”.

She says she is more worried about passing through Singapore, which may lead to extra screening back in the UK.

Regarding the general atmosphere in Bali, she says “there are a few face masks around but it’s not too obvious, unlike in Thailand”, where she has also recently been on holiday.

Bali tourism officials have dug in their heels in recent days, arguing that, besides the slump in Chinese visitors, the island is doing fine.

How the coronavirus spread across China and the world – visual explainer

“It’s a hoax,” said Bali Tourism Agency head Putu Astawa last week, of media allegations that Bali was a “ghost town”. Bali’s health ministry also issued an “Official Statement Regarding ‘HOAX’ Circulating About the Coronavirus” asserting that zero cases have been detected on the archipelago so far.

In Ubud, Michelle Anindya, head of development at Seniman coffee studios, says people are not outwardly scared or taking any major extra health precautions. “No one is really wearing face masks or panicking,” she says, “though there are a lot of rumours floating around”.

One group of tourists that is not fazed is other Indonesians.

“Indonesians are delaying plans to travel overseas because of coronavirus, so they’re opting for domestic destinations [like Bali] instead,” says James Hutauruk, Jakarta-based founder of the Giga Great tour company, which caters to Indonesian travellers. “We are seeing a spike in requests for domestic packages.”

Accordingly, Astawat, head of the Bali Tourism Board, has asked the Indonesian president if he can discount domestic flight tickets.

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