Vaucluse, seen from The Gap. Photo: Charles H Curtis/Wikimedia

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BY TAYLOR MARTIN

Shangjin ‘Jin’ Lin, billionaire managing director of property development giant Aqualand, has met with stiff opposition from the Woollahra Municipal Council after applying to demolish two Vaucluse mansions and rebuild them into one large mega-mansion.

Mr. Lin’s mother purchased 6 Queens Avenue (also known as Villa Igiea) and 8 Queens Avenue for a combined price of $52 million in late 2015. In November of 2016, Mr. Lin submitted a proposal to renovate and restore the historic 6 Queens Ave mansion, and demolish and replace 8 Queens Ave with a multi-story building.
Lin plans on merging the two properties into one via the ground and first floor levels in order to create a so-called ‘mega-mansion’. The new property would reportedly feature 14 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms, and require the removal of 355 truckloads of dirt and debris.

The historic mansion, which boasts extraordinary harbour views, was used most recently as an exclusive short-term rental for billionaires and A-list celebrities, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Beyonce and Jay Z, Katy Perry, and others.

Lin’s family has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past several years acquiring and developing similar properties in Sydney and Perth. It is believed that Lin will use the mega-mansion as his primary residence.

The plans for joining the two properties have faced severe disapproval and backlash from surrounding neighbors and Vaucluse residents who contend, among other things, that the development would cause an unreasonable loss of views for nearby properties and their wealthy inhabitants.

The development application, which received conditional approval from the Woollahra Development Control Committee on 7 August, failed to get full approval at the Woollahra Council at the 14 August meeting. The Council unanimously refused the application for numerous reasons, including breach of maximum height, breach of maximum number of parking spaces, and for not being in the public’s best interest.

With total development costs exceeding $20 million, the final decision on the fate of the development application rests with the Sydney Central Planning Panel (SCPP). The rejected proposal was initially set to go before the SCPP for consideration at the 7 September meeting, but has since been rescheduled to 19 October.

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