Grollo ready for snow business

Grollo ready for snow business

MAKE way for serious snow bunnies waving cheque books when businessman Rino Grollo sells 24 properties worth $7 million at Mount Buller with an enticing 20 per cent discount. Real estate agent and alpine property specialist John Castran is handling the auction at Pitcher Partners, the accountants of Grollo, in William Street tomorrow and has been staggered at the avalanche of inquiries from 600 prospective buyers, many of them well-to-do Melburnians eager to land their own address in the snow. It's the perfect weekend and holiday accessory for the Land Rover, Range Rover and chic snow jumpsuits with matching fur earmuffs. The auction lots include nine blocks of land, 12 apartments and the three-bedroom "Skyline Penthouse", which is expected to fetch $900,000 and is contained within the Mount Buller Chalet Hotel. That means there's room service at the touch of the button after an exhausting day on the mountain. Then there's the four-bedroom "The Stables Chalet" for the same price. Grollo's company, the Mount Buller Lift Company, is selling surplus stock and Martin Ansell, director of property at the Grollo Group, said proceeds would be spent on "snow-making and reinvesting in the mountain". He said the market had been "pretty quiet" but reaction to the auction was "surprisingly strong". A 20 per cent discount can really do wonders for demand. Castran said he had firm instructions from Grollo, saying: "He wants them all sold." In cosy apres-ski talk, he wants them all Schnapp-ed up.

Foot in the crime door

JUST as Channel Seven's veteran reporter Norm Beaman counts down the days until his retirement, a new recruit is preparing to walk in the door. Channel Nine reporter Brendan Roberts is heading to Seven to become crime reporter to beef up the round with soon-to-be colleague Cameron Baud. Roberts is looking forward to the challenge, telling me he worked at the Herald Sun for five years and focused on crime stories, later switching gears to work in TV. He covered the murder of Jill Meagher, the story that united the nation in grief, and the murder of Carl Williams. Beaman, hailed by colleagues and other journos as a "legend" for his nous and perennial suntan, is putting down his notepad after 48 years in the media to lap up the serenity of his farm. Roberts is replacing Beaman but doubted he could fill the veteran's well-worn shoes. "I don't think anyone can fill the shoes of Norm Beaman," Roberts said. "I will have to spend a couple of weeks in a solarium."

Non-flying kangaroo

THE flying kangaroo is a regular and expected sight at Melbourne Airport but yesterday at 7am, cab drivers saw a hopping version. It had nothing to do with Qantas or anyone being hopping mad about flight delays. A real kangaroo raced past, forcing drivers to search deep within as to whether they were hallucinating. They weren't. The kangaroo sighting could be part of a "reclaim the streets" campaign by animals after a horse was parading through the bayside 'burbs with a cowboy called Mario at the reins. There is some seriously weird stuff going on out there.

When cultures collide

BEING the traffic reporter for 3AW and Magic 1278, Caroline Ferguson knows the snarls to avoid. And she has to navigate traffic jams when heading to her other job as a performer. "I did get some very strange looks on the Collins Street tram as I had to head up to the Portland Hotel to go on stage immediately after my segment on 3AW," she said. "It was a very tight turn-around time, so I was already wearing jodhpurs and a pony-club helmet!" It makes sense when you learn Ferguson is starring in the Melbourne Fringe Festival show Davina & Lay-Lah: An Arab Awakening in a Toorak Cellar at the Portland Hotel in Russell Street. In this cultural collision, Ferguson (above, left) plays hyphenated Toorak matron Davina Smythe-Jones and co-star Yvonne Malik (right) plays a Reservoir belly dancer called Lay-lah Wazir. Whatever Melway map matrons or belly dancers inhabit, they've probably heard Ferguson's radio warnings of collisions.

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