It was the rising upkeep of an Archbishop’s residence that led to the development of the exclusive Greenoaks Apartments.

Completed in 2007, the 10 high-end apartments that comprise Greenoaks Apartments at 17 Greenoaks Avenue are a relatively recent addition to the Darling Point skyline.

Once part of the iconic Bishopscourt property, this apartment complex has a rich history reaching back more than 180 years and touching the highest echelons of Sydney business and the Church.

A property of unprecedented grandeur

Photo from Wikimedia

The Bishopscourt history begins in 1841 when ironmonger and local councillor Thomas Woolley built a modest sandstone cottage on the site.

AMP Society founder Thomas Sutcliffe Mort bought the property five years later and transformed it into a gothic revival mansion, which he named Greenoaks.

The lavish redevelopment came complete with stained-glass windows, a grand staircase and interiors modelled on the Palace of Westminster.

At one point, Mort even added an art gallery for which he charged a small public admission believing people placed ‘no value upon that which they can see for nothing’.

A keen horticulturist, Mort also transformed the grounds. The property’s gardens, said to be the finest in Sydney, were sketched in 1947 by artist Conrad Martens and visited especially by the Duke of Edinburgh on a trip to Sydney in 1853.

A home fit for an Archbishop

Greenoaks remained in the Mort family until 1892, before its sale to grazier Michael Langtree.

When Langtree tried to sell the estate in 1910, it failed to reach its reserve and Langtree opted instead to subdivide the land.

The major subdivision allowed for the construction of Greenoaks Avenue as one of Darling Point’s signature thoroughfares, while the Greenoaks residence was sold to the Anglican Church for £6,750.

Renamed Bishopscourt, it was home to eight archbishops from 1910 until the property’s sale in 2015.

Church develops Greenoaks Apartments

Over time, however, it became too costly for the Church to maintain a property of Bishopcourt’s size and heritage.

Thinking of selling?
Just researching the market?

At one point, it was estimated it would cost up to $10 million to make the necessary renovations, while the maintenance bill alone had reached more than $360,000 a year.

While the Church considered selling Bishopsgate on several occasions as far back as 1963, losses sustained in the global financial crisis eventually forced its hand in 2015.

In the meantime, perhaps taking a leaf out of Michael Langtree’s book, the Church subdivided the property again and developed 10 penthouse-style apartments directly south of the mansion.

Synod records show the Church’s financial management arm, the Glebe Administration Board, managed the development and provided a $17 million loan to construct the Greenoaks Apartments.

Apartment sales were used to repay the loan, as well as supporting the ongoing repair and maintenance of Bishopscourt.

Own a slice of history

The listing of 9/17 Greenoaks Avenue offers an opportunity to secure an exclusive lifestyle sanctuary and a unique slice of Sydney’s history. With panoramic views, this three-bedroom penthouse apartment also boasts three bathrooms, life access and double parking.

As we noted in our recent market report, there is huge demand for larger three-bedroom or penthouse apartments, particularly among downsizers cashing in on the property boom and looking for space and the wow factor.

And locations don’t come much more blue-chip than Darling Point, with the third-highest median apartment value in the country of $2.4 million, behind only Point Piper and Barangaroo.

And right next door is one of Sydney’s great historic homes, which the apartments were built to preserve.

Call me if you would like to know more about this remarkable property.

Photo credit: Bishopscourt, Darling Point, Wikipedia