A Reddit user last year claimed to have worked at the site for a business tenanted to the Wakils, reminiscing that the iconic building had “wool still jammed in some corners”.
“They had some amazing artwork hanging in their office,” Redditer runamuckalot wrote.
“It was 90 per cent empty, with whole floors completely empty, including a massive warehouse basement. They had lots of offers for renters, or the business already inside wanting to move or expand but didn’t allow it.”
The tide of public opinion appeared to turn in 2014, when the couple suddenly announced plans to sell off $200 million worth of property and donate the proceeds to charity.
When the couple set up the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation and began to do just that, they were suddenly elevated to the status of saints.
An “unprecedented” $10.8 million gift to Sydney University’s nursing school last year earned the pair widespread praise, as $1 million gift to the Sydney Jewish Museum.
Mr Wakil was born in Baghdad, while Mrs Wakil fled Romania as a child after her father was imprisoned in a Siberian gulag.
“Susan and I appreciate the valuable work of nurses in the frontline of health care,” Mr Wakil said in a widely quote university press release.
“Regrettably, nurses don’t always get the recognition or headlines they deserve for the critical and very personal care they bring to patients. These new scholarships are a way of supporting the tuition and career development of deserving students and nurses now and into the future.
“Australia is a great country and it’s a good feeling to give something back.”