Old Geelong Grammar transformed from squat to student digs

MMJ Real Estate, agent Joel Wald and developer Leon Theoharopoulos at the refurbished old Geelong Grammar School in Maud St. Picture: Glenn Ferguson

The former Geelong Grammar School has hit the market after renovators waved their magic wands and transformed it into a student accommodation facility.

The Gothic Tudor style building, which has been likened to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, was built in 1857 as a school and since the school relocated to Corio in 1914, the building has been used as a guesthouse, Reformed Theological College and now student accommodation.

The property, at 55 Maud St, Geelong, last sold for $1.9 million in 2016, according to CoreLogic, and since then has been completely refurbished and now has price hopes above $6 million.

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Melbourne developer Leon Theoharopoulos took on the challenge of working with the Victorian Heritage Register to bring the property, that was once owned by Geelong City Council, back to life.

There are now three levels, plus basement, of student accommodation including 27 rooms, 36-beds and common facilities.

Old Geelong Grammar School

The original building in 1863. Picture: Geelong Grammar School Archive.

Theoharopoulos says the building was condemned when he bought it and there were squatters living inside it with an open sewer out the front.

He says they removed 150 cubic metres of rubbish from the property before they could start working on it.

“There are new floors, the plaster was stripped back, new plumbing, new electrics and a sprinkler system,” he said.

“One of the rooms was completely waterlogged and there were thousands of bird droppings.”

There is a common room on every level. Picture: Glenn Ferguson

It has taken nearly two years to transform the property into student accommodation.

Theoharopoulos says he would have spent more than $2 million on work to the building, not including all the fittings and fixtures.

He says the most challenging thing was making sure everything was to the heritage standard.

This included matching floorboards and handrails as well as putting a window over some wallpaper that was found behind some plaster in one of the kitchens.

The meticulous refurbishment has resulted in a student accommodation facility that mixes history with modern technology.

Old Geelong Grammar School

There are a mixture of one and two-bedroom rooms.

MMJ Real Estate, agent Joel Wald has been tasked with selling the Backhouse and Reynolds architects designed building that was originally built in a quadrangle form.

The north and west wings were demolished in 1916 and 1960, respectively.

Wald says along with the historic building at 55 Maud St, 55a Maud St is also included in the offering.

It is some of the land at the front of the site and there are plans available for more accommodation to be built there.

“There are plans for suites, so rooms with ensuites,” Wald says.

Old Geelong Grammar School

The refurbishment has been a two-year project.

He is looking for offers in excess of $6 million for the historic site.

This article from the Geelong Advertiser originally appeared as “Former Geelong Grammar School transformed into student accommodation”.