Family home for $17 million Taj on Swan site
THE new owner of Peppermint Grove’s infamous “Taj-on-Swan” superblock, businessman John Gillett, plans to build a family home to share with his wife and young twin boys.
Speaking publicly about his $17 million purchase for the first time, Mr Gillett said as a private person he had “naively” hoped to avoid attention.
“We were hoping to fly under the radar,” he told The Weekend West with a laugh.
“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do as yet. At this moment we have no intention of sub-dividing but who knows.
“We didn’t think we would be successful (in buying it). I’m glad we were but we’re still on the starting blocks.
“We’re fairly private people, we’re in no hurry.”
Mr Gillett is a former Moran Health Care executive who sold WA aged care provider Craigcare last year in a deal understood to be worth $50 million to $100 million.
He bought the business in 2003 for a reported $25 million.
Mr Gillett has since mostly retired and lives in Nedlands with his wife and eight-year-old sons. He also has older children.
“I think from our perspective it’s a wonderful opportunity for my boys to grow up there,” he said.
Speaking to WestBusiness when he sold his business last year, Mr Gillett said wanted to spend more time with his family.
He said yesterday it had been a “lovely time” since stepping down from his corporate life.
The property deal was so fresh, he said, “I haven’t even told the boys”.
Mr Gillett’s desire to avoid the spotlight is in sharp contrast to the site’s previous owners, Pankaj and Radhika Oswal.
The high-flying couple’s glamorous lifestyle first stalled and came crashing down around them with the collapse of Mr Oswal’s fertiliser empire in 2010.
The couple’s plan for an Indian-inspired mansion earned the 6582sqm block its popular moniker soon after they bought it for $22.7 million in 2006.
But the building was never finished and spent years in limbo, partly because of the Oswals’ complex legal battles.
To the frustration of its western suburbs neighbours it became a magnet for illegal parties, squatters and graffiti before being demolished in 2016.
The site has since been marketed alternatively as one superblock or as many as six blocks.
The block, which once had a $30 million price tag, failed to sell at auction last month and the deal with Mr Gillett was negotiated later.