A WOODEND man has confirmed he will bid for Fortuna Villa when the historic property comes up for auction on April 12.
Dale O’Sullivan is leading a consortium of antiques and art dealers who plan to purchase and restore the former home of George Lansell for up to $10 million.
They will use the villa as a “regional showroom for art and antique dealers”.
He said it was a viable way of keeping the villa open to the public.
“The only way to furnish it is to have things in it for sale,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
Mr O’Sullivan put in a tender to purchase the property for
$3 million in September 2009 but said a poorly run process railroaded his bid.
“The tender was 200 pages and I think more people would have tendered for it if they understood the contract,” he said.
He said he had done more research on Lansell and the property since then and was keen to buy it.
“It is the best house in or out of Melbourne. It is unique,” he said.
“It is the centre of Lansell, one of the great men.”
Mr O’Sullivan is also searching for a 1934 seven-seater Rolls Royce owned by the Lansell family.
“I want it for the house,” he said.
“No one knows where it is but someone must have it somewhRere.”
He said he was still gathering more people to join the consortium but was confident he would make the winning bid.
“I have a strong nucleus of dealers already but I’m still getting people jumping on board,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
“I hope the person who beats us is someone from Bendigo or the (City of Greater Bendigo) council,” he said.