Buyer for troubled site

Dodo founder Larry Kestelman is staging a push into property development, spending $9.35 million to buy a prominent South Yarra residential development site.

Dodo founder Larry Kestelman is staging a push into property development, spending $9.35 million to buy a prominent South Yarra residential development site.

The tech entrepreneur is flush with cash after reportedly receiving $150 million for selling his stake in Dodo and Eftel for $250 million to M2 Communications last month.

Mr Kestelman's purchase of 300 Toorak Road ends a saga in which the 1628-square-metre property spent years on the market and faced fierce opposition to its proposed redevelopment.

Part-owned by racing commentator John "Dr Turf" Rothfield - and home to the Watergrill restaurant - the small retail centre at the corner of Toorak Road and Cunningham Street was listed for sale in 2006 and was once reportedly close to selling to a developer for $14 million without a permit.

In 2010, Mr Rothfield and his partners, Raywood Nominees Pty Ltd, applied for permission to build a 12-storey, 114 apartment, mixed-use development that was opposed by residents and Stonnington Council.

After two VCAT hearings, the company received approval in May 2012 to build a six-storey building with 76 apartments.

Gross Waddell agent Michael Gross handled the off-market sale. He declined to comment.

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