Gretel Packer used her deep financial pockets to beat half a dozen bidders at auction on Thursday night vying to buy the penthouse of the landmark Macleay Regis building in Potts Point.
The bullish $8.75 million result was widely pinned on the billionaire daughter of the late media tycoon Kerry Packer after her representative at the auction emerged as the successful buyer.
The grand 1938-era spread drew an impressive line-up of interested locals during the sales campaign, most notably former prime minister Paul Keating and actor David Wenham, who lives in the building.
The guide of $6 million ahead of the auction was matched on the night with an opening $6 million bid, and heated competition saw the price rise $2.75 million before the hammer fell.
Gary Sands, who listed it with Jane Schumann and Susannah Anderson of Di Jones, declined to confirm the buyer, saying only "it seems everyone knows who bought it except the agents".
Packer, who is ranked Australia's 58th richest person on this year's AFR Rich List, is speculated to have bought the level nine spread as an eventual apartment for herself in future years, although it remains unknown what she plans to do with it in the short term.
She lives in an Edwardian residence in Bellevue Hill called Winston - a neighbour to the Rona estate - that she bought in 2000 for $11.25 million. She also bought a whole-floor space in the CBD's Hudson House building earlier this year for $8,371,000.
Daughter Francesca Packer Barham bought a two-bedroom apartment in the Encore building in nearby Elizabeth Bay last year for $2.1 million.
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The grand entry foyer and classic art deco finishes of the Macleay Regis has long lured the well-heeled of Sydney society.
Inspired by New York's Rockefeller building and designed by well-known architects of the day Pitt & Phillips, it was built in 1938 for Woolworths co-founder Harold Percy Christmas, who kept the penthouse as his own.
The penthouse was later owed by the late radio presenter Grace Gibson and sold 30 years ago to the late Vogue editor-at-large Patricia Coppleson and gynaecologist Professor Malcolm Coppleson, who died in April.
Packer is only the fourth owner of the apartment which features an ornately detailed, wood-panelled dining room, formal lounge room, a wraparound terrace, and a maid's room with its own en suite and balcony behind the kitchen.
The building does not have parking, but the penthouse was sold with two car spaces on title, set across the road.