COMMERCIALNew South WalesNEWSRay White

Adman John Singleton lists The Bonython for $28 million

Famous Australian adman, John ‘Singo’ Singleton has listed his Paddington office complex, with a price guide of about $28 million.

The Bonython, located at 52 Victoria St, consists of four buildings surrounding an inner courtyard and is being sold by Ray White Woollahra’s Ben Vaughan and Randall Kemp.

Mr Singleton ran his first advertising agency, SPASM, from the building soon after he bought the property from Kym Bonython in 1976.

Built in the 1890s, the former factory, which is hidden behind rows of terrace housing, was converted into an art gallery in 1967 by Mr Bonython, who exhibited works by the likes of Brett Whiteley, Ken Done and Sidney Nolan until 1976.

The property boasts 13 undercover car spaces, with flexible E1 zoning and it has been home to a number of high-profile tenants including Microsoft, NINEMSN, Seven, Mojo Advertising and Documentary Australia.

Mr Singleton said there was something about the building that “exudes success”.

“I once had a call from my accountant who said he’d had an offer from one of these tech blokes, an American, about Bonython,” Mr Singleton said.

“This guy wanted to do it all, increase the value and pay the rent at the improved market value. 

“No one was that silly, I said.

“That was Bill Gates, and this became their Australian head office for Microsoft.

Mr Singleton said the building had always been different. 

“You walk in here and people think ‘Wow’,” he said.

“It’s amazing, people work here. It’s such a great place to work.”

Mr Singleton said the legend was that most of his business was because everyone wanted an invitation to their parties on a Friday night. 

“And there is a lot of truth in that because it was a who’s who of Kerry Packer, Rupert Murdoch, Gerry Harvey and Jack Cowin,” he said.

“In many ways, it was just so unique. It was all so fantastic.”

Mr Singleton said the buyer would be someone who believed that taste and efficiency are not mutually exclusive.

“The reason so much creative work came out of here, in so many categories, is because when you walk in here, you all feel the same,” he said.

“It’s very special.”

Ray White Woollahra Commercial Executive Ben Vaughan said 52 Victoria St, Paddington, was one of Sydney’s most significant land opportunities.

“The property suits an array of different end uses, from passive investment, private offices, residential/commercial development to that of a residential compound in the heart of Paddington,” Mr Vaughan said.

“We are expecting huge interest given this is such a unique and wonderful asset to own.”

The Bonython is selling via expressions of interest closing on March 20.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.