Abbey in new hands
A GOLD Coast couple looking for a treechange have snapped up the landmark Abbey of the Roses.
After being on the market for almost a year, one of Warwick’s most treasured heritage sites is set to change hands for the fifth time in almost two decades when an unconditional contract is settled in several weeks time.
Agent Max Holder of Harcourts Rural yesterday confirmed the sale, saying the couple wanted to remain unidentified at this time but planned to move to Warwick to live permanently at the Abbey.
“They are both successful business people in their late thirties and they are looking forward to getting away from the coast and coming to the stress-free life in Warwick,” Mr Holder said.
“As far as the use of the Abbey is concerned little will change, with the new owners, as well as living here, intending to continue with it as a bed and breakfast mainly, as well as a venue for weddings, functions and conferences.
“They are also keen to encourage it as a destination for bus tours and will continue the Sunday markets and introduce morning and afternoon teas.”
Mr Holder said the couple also planned to do “a lot of work” to the Abbey, including replacing the roof and opening up the top veranda on the western end which has previously been largely unused except for the storage of antiques.
It is understood they also plan to construct a six foot-high fence around the property for privacy.
The Abbey of the Roses was originally on the market in the middle of last year with a $1.8m price tag and was bought by Sydney-based interests in 2001 for $700,000.
Formerly Our Lady of the Assumption Convent, it was built in 1892-3 as the second convent of the Sisters of Mercy in Warwick.
Additions in 1904 completed the original plans of Brisbane architects, Simkin and Ibler.
The last Sisters of Mercy left the convent in 1988 and it was retained by the Catholic Church as a campus for tertiary education, being renamed ‘Sophia’, a Greek word for wisdom and opened on February 17, 1989.
It was sold by the church in 1994 and became a reception centre under several subsequent owners, the first of whom rechristened it the Abbey of the Roses.
In other property news with an historic bent, Glenvale Station on the shores of Leslie Dam passed in at an auction at the LJ Hooker rooms in Warwick last night at $950,000.
Negotiations on the 158 hectare going concern – which comes with a 60ha leasehold frontage to the dam – are expected to continue today, including with one interested party from overseas.
Glenvale and its brick homestead date back to the 1880s and the property was once a Cobb and Co staging post.
Passed in at an auction on Wednesday was another icon of the past in the form of the former Hiles Transport depot on Lyons Street in Warwick.
The huge sandstone warehouse with truck access and next to the Warwick Railway Station in what was – and still is – one of the Rose City’s bustling commercial zones is on the market at $365,000.