Gretel Packer set to create ‘unmatched’ mega penthouse’ in Macleay Regis after $9m purchase

Billionaire Gretel Packer is set to create a mega penthouse in the Art Deco treasure the Macleay Regis, following her $9m purchase of the sub-penthouse.

The 165sqm two-bedroom, two-bathroom Potts Point unit she bought yesterday through Sydney Sotheby’s International’s Clint Ballard adjoins the 350sqm three-bedroom, three-bathroom penthouse that Packer bought at auction for $8.75m in 2017.

The opportunity is a dream come true for Packer, having offered $22m to buy two neighbouring penthouses in the Potts Point development, Omnia, in 2019 — but missing out.

And well-placed sources say she should have little difficulty merging the two units to create one huge apartment of 865sqm in the building inspired by New York’s Rockefeller Apartments, as that’s the way it was when it was originally built in 1938.

Gretel Packer would have a “priceless” penthouse should she merge the two apartments, as expected. Picture: Robert Edwards

The two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment was originally part of the grand whole-floor penthouse originally owned by Woolworths co-founder Percy Christmas.

One of the Woolworths founders, Percy Christmas, was the first owner of the penthouse and it’s understood that following his death in 1947, the sub-penthouse was created to accommodate family members.

“Now, hopefully, the two apartments can be re-joined to create one large apartment, as it was originally,” the source advised.

And there’s a precedent for apartments being merged at the back of the building in the past.

The theory is that Packer, the daughter of the late media tycoon Kerry Packer, plans to ultimately move into the merged penthouse, currently simply an investment property.

At present, Packer lives in the Bellevue Hill Edwardian residence Winson, a neighbour to the famous Rona estate, that she bought for $11.25m in 2000. And she also owns a whole-floor space in Hudson House in the city that she bought for $8,371,000 in 2016.

Her daughter, Francesca Packer-Barham, bought the level 40 penthouse in Darlinghurst’s Horizon in 2019.

One of the bedrooms in the sub-penthouse.

What a view! And that’s just from the sub-penthouse.

Ballard, with his long-term business partner James Ball, previously ran Ballard Property but they’ve recently reached agreement with Sydney Sotheby’s managing director, Michael Pallier, to become an affiliate of the global brand.

He’d been guiding $9m for the sub-penthouse, owned by retired London-based banker Greg Peacock, in an expressions of interest campaign.

Ballard says that if the two top-floor Macleay Regis apartments were merged it would be “a very unique piece of real estate …. unmatched”.

Packer will no doubt want to create a much bigger kitchen in the new mega penthouse.

The apartment features high ceilings and beautiful parquetry floors.

He didn’t want a specific value on it, simply saying “to have the whole top floor as one penthouse in the Macleay Regis would be priceless and would offer the most expansive north-easterly aspect of Elizabeth Bay.”

The Macleay Regis has attracted a range of identities in the past, including actors David Wenham, who sold his level seven two-bedder for $5,755,000 in February last year; and Craig McLachlan, whose one-bedder on level nine fetched $1.4m last May.



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