Search steps up to find a buyer for penthouse donated to fund COVID-19 research

Tuesday 19 May 2020

The incredible generosity of Sunshine Coast couple Keith and Glenda Drake, who donated their luxury penthouse to fund COVID-19 research, will take just a little longer to achieve after the Saturday May 16 auction fell short of the reserve.

While the Drakes want the funds to flow as quickly as possible to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Foundation Coronavirus Action Fund, the best offer of $2 million fell short of the reserve.

“We could have sold at $2 million but that would have meant a lot less money going to the Foundation and they need every dollar they can get to help find a treatment for COVID-19,” said Mr Drake.

“We’ve been lucky in Australia so far, but we don’t know what the future looks like now that we are easing some of the restrictions.

“A vaccine could be a while away, so I’m hoping we can find a treatment sooner rather than later which can save lives and help us get back to life as we knew it.”

RBWH Foundation CEO Simone Garske, who joined the Drakes for the auction’s final stages, said the Foundation was more than happy to follow Keith’s lead.

“We are determined that Keith’s generosity will not go to waste through a quick sale,” said Ms Garske.

“This is a beautiful property but unfortunately travel restrictions are making it difficult to market.”

Bidding via the online Openn Negotiation platform closed with a top bid of $1.84 million and selling agent Mark Lawler, principal of R&W Coolum was able to negotiate offers of $2 million from the top bidders, one a local Sunshine Coast couple and the other from Sydney.

Mr Lawler will now take the sales campaign into the next phase with a price guide of $2.75 million, the price Keith and Glenda paid for the penthouse 15 years ago.
Mr Lawler said that typically only 25 per cent of luxury properties sold under the hammer on the Sunshine Coast and the barriers to achieving a sale had been enormous due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“We had everything against us with this sale,” said Mr Lawler. “The borders were closed, open house inspections were banned until very late in the campaign, we couldn’t hold a live auction and Queenslanders were required to stay close to home.

“Normally we would be fielding inquiry from as far afield as Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand and it’s a tough call to ask somebody to spend millions on a property sight unseen. We were able to attract two interstate bidders along with local interest but you really have to see this place to appreciate its true value and how fantastic it is.

“Now that we are able to enjoy a little more freedom of movement, we will continue negotiations and keep looking for our buyer. Neither Keith and Glenda, nor the Foundation want to see this incredible property, two levels of total luxury with panoramic views of Maroochydore Beach and Mount Coolum go for below its value for the sake of a quick sale.”

Mr Drake moved from the penthouse to an acreage property five years ago with Glenda and their 57-year-old son Neville, who is severely disabled with quadriplegia cerebral palsy, requiring round the clock care.

The penthouse was earning rental income but weighing that against the greater need to develop treatments for COVID-19, the choice for the father of four, grandfather of five and great grandfather of two, was simple.

“I have always done a certain amount of giving when I have seen people in need,” said Mr Drake.

“My own family are all well set-up, though not in an extravagant way and I felt the RBWH Foundation needed the funding.”

Mr Drake and Glenda initially contacted the RBWH Foundation to make a donation, but on learning more about the work being done by Professor David Paterson, Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and Director at The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, realised that more was needed.

“When I spoke to Professor Paterson and read up about the trial and the research the Foundation is supporting, I thought they are going to need a bit of money to make this work,” said Mr Drake.

“The penthouse brings in a bit of rent, but we don’t need to have it. I know what is more important.”

For further information and to bid on the penthouse click on this link to visit Richardson & Wrench Coolum