Dispute Erupts in Hamilton Hill Over Trophy Home Renovation

A significant dispute has erupted over a Hamilton Hill homeowner’s plans to modify their lavish trophy home’s glass balustrades, sparking fears among neighbours that these changes will render the residence overly imposing in an exclusive enclave.

At the centre of the controversy is a multimillion-dollar trophy home on Eldernell Terrace, where proposed alterations have led to objections from nearby residents. The issue arose over the homeowner’s plans to increase the structure’s size and replace certain architectural features, raising concerns about the building’s height and aesthetic impact on the area.

The contested property’s owners, Michael John Cleary and his wife Mary Jo, acquired the home for $7.3 million in 2023. Their renovation plans include removing some glass panels for fibre-cement sheeting, altering the glass balustrading to steel, and adding steel-framed awnings. 

Hamilton Hill
Photo Credit: Melanie Wing/ DA 10630479

These modifications, documented in council submissions, have sparked the current controversy due to concerns about the building’s increased bulk and visual dominance in the neighbourhood.

Two residents of Hamilton Hill, concerned about the potential effects of the proposed changes, have taken formal steps to halt the development.

Liza Gay and her husband Geoff, prominent figures in event management and the audiovisual sector, submitted an objection to the local council via DA 10630479, approved on 26th March 2024. 

​​ They argue that the alterations would significantly increase the building’s height beyond the acceptable limit of 9.5 meters, urging the council to issue a “stop work order” until the application undergoes due process.

“ As part of the original Development Application the Brisbane City Council sought changes to ensure glass balustrade was provided on balconies to reduce the overall height, bulk and scale of proposed development,” the couple stated it their submission.

“The current owner has totally ignored that ruling and has removed the balustrade to replace it with higher and opaque materials.

“As this work is in total contradiction to the Councils direction and does not align with the intent of the overarching purpose of the Zone code, we request the you place a ‘Stop work order’ on the property until the application goes through due process.”

Hamilton Hill
Photo Credit: DA 10630479

Adding to the Gays’ opposition, another neighbour, Melanie Wing, who co-owns a popular bar with her husband, has voiced her concerns. Wing, residing in a historical house nearby, criticises the development for potentially setting a worrisome precedent regarding building height in the area. She emphasises that the proposed changes would result in a building that is too large and imposing, negatively affecting the surrounding residential zone.

As the council considers the objections, the community awaits a decision that will not only affect the immediate neighbours but also set a tone for future developments in one of Brisbane’s most prestigious locales.

Published 28-March-2024

Proposed Hamilton Hill Home Revamp to Exceed Typical Height Restrictions

A stately 1950s brick residence perched atop Hamilton Hill with vistas of the winding Brisbane River could make way for a luxurious new home pushing architectural boundaries.

Read: Developer Looks to Demolish 1940s Hamilton Abode

The existing three-storey house at 15 Quarry Street sits in one of Brisbane’s most exclusive enclaves, but its owners have applied to demolish it and erect a dazzling modern rebuild in its place. 

Plans filed with the Brisbane City Council detail a design-forward dwelling oriented to capitalise on million-dollar river views through walls of glass and sprawling terraces.

Hamilton Hill
The existing house at Quarry St (Photo credit: realestate.com.au)

“The application seeks to demolish an existing post-1946 dwelling house and introduce a new dwelling to the premises. It is noted that the current dwelling is a post 1946 dwelling and therefore will not be subject to the requirements of the Traditional Building Character (Demolition Code),” planners stated in the application.

Hamilton Hill
Photo credit: realestate.com.au

The proposed rebuild, designed by LVO Architecture, would soar over 9.5 metres in parts, exceeding the area’s height limits, though the couple’s consultants argue the design meets council requirements by terracing the floors to avoid exceeding three storeys at any point. 

Photo credit: LVO Architecture 

Whilst constrained by the existing property’s irregular shape, the architectural plans skillfully incorporate nine parking spaces, a new driveway entrance off Quarry Street, and retention of an existing rear access easement. Some side setbacks would be tighter than typically permitted.

Photo credit: LVO Architecture 
Photo credit: LVO Architecture 

The design team touts the use of “high quality” materials and that the home is “befitting of its setting” crowning Hamilton Hill. The council application argues the proposed residence meets key performance criteria despite the minor height breaches.

Behind this ambitious vision are owners Eric and Paula Steed, the couple who own multiple jewellery stores across Australia. 

Read: Prized Hamilton Home Faces Partial Demolition to Kick Off Next Chapter

When not overseeing their retail empire, the Steeds split time between a $5.5 million riverfront apartment in Kangaroo Point offering “jaw-dropping” city views and their dated Hamilton Hill property they now aim to replace.