Issue 34 | The Property Development Review



LISTINGS The best and latest commercial and development opportunities in Australia.

INTERVIEWS We speak with Australia’s best business leaders.

ANALYSIS Unique perspectives from the deal-makers on the ground.

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ON THE COVER Melbourne via-Pexels

Complacency is the demise of any business. If you’re not moving, the competition will overtake. Over the years, marketing in the property industry has often been a contentious issue because traditionally, demand took care of itself. Therefore many agents didn’t see or understand the need to invest in much other than the bare minimum. Today however, the most renowned names in the game are the ones who didn’t allow success to blind them and who understood that effective competitive marketing and brand recognition happens with consistency and over time. Consumers have changed the way they make decisions and are now relying more on websites, platforms and online tools, sometimes exclusively and there is more ‘marketing clutter’ than there was years ago so to stand out, well, you need to stand out. So no matter how great your business is, you will be run over by the competition or get lost in the clutter if you just sit there. The listing platforms and competitive products Ready Media Group deliver aim to keep companies ahead of the curve. It’s the way we run our business, so we make every endeavour to help you do the same with yours. This month we have reached a record number of listings on our platforms, continued to grow our creative team, as well as welcome John Sinistaj, our new CTO. John has joined us from his CTO role at Swinburne University and prior to that, his CIO role at Viva Energy (Shell Australia); he will help to keep RMG ‘moving on the right track’, further develop new products and implement our technology plan. In this issue we also catch up with MaxCap’s Brae Sokolski to chat about the company’s partnership with Apollo, the Queensbridge development in Southbank Melbourne, horse racing and what drives him towards success. Rob Langton interviews renowned businessman, Partner of

Rampersand and Co-Chairman of Hindal Corporate, Michael Naphtali AM and Julius Colman AM about his tale of entrepreneurialism across a range of industry sectors. We also talk to Vanessa Fajkind of Brook Recruitment and cafe magnate Kristy-Lea Moussi from the Only Hospitality Group. Finally, as always, we have kept you up to date with the newest development sites as well as our ‘monthly market moves’ around the Country.

EDITOR IN CHIEF Frank Materia frank@

Nick Headshot - TPDR Intro


ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES jamie@ PROPERTY LISTING ENQUIRIES info@ EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES editor@ CONTACT Ready Media Group Head Office Levels 3, 4, & 5 161 Buckhurst St South Melbourne VIC 3205 03 9631 5476 info@

Enjoy the read.

NICK MATERIA CEO - Ready Media Group

July / August 2022 – 3

Let your business fly



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*A business must be a Qantas Business Rewards Member to earn Qantas Points for the business. A one-off joining fee of $89.50 applies, is inclusive of any applicable GST and may be varied by Qantas from time to time, without notice, in its absolute discretion. Membership and Qantas Points for business are offered under the Qantas Business Rewards Terms and Conditions and earning thresholds apply. ~Savings are available exclusively to Qantas Business Rewards Members on the base fare of selected fares only and do not apply to taxes, fees and carrier charges. Availability is limited. Member Deals are subject to the Qantas Business Rewards Terms and Conditions. ^Discounted Qantas Club membership is available to Qantas Frequent Flyer members who are Qantas Business Rewards Flyers of the Qantas Business Rewards Member. Discount applicable is dependent on membership level. The discount applies to Qantas Club Individual membership rates and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers. Qantas Australian Domestic and International lounge network is subject to change due to changes in state and territory specific restrictions, or health and safety advice. Please remember to check our airport service changes page for the most up to date information on Domestic and International lounge openings and updates. Lounge access eligibility, capacity controls and further terms and conditions apply. Qantas Club membership is subject to the Qantas Club Terms and Conditions at †You must be a Qantas Frequent Flyer to earn Qantas Points. A joining fee may apply. Membership and points are subject to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program terms and conditions. Qantas Frequent Flyers will earn 250 Qantas Points per eligible flight booking where a Qantas Business Rewards Member’s ABN and the traveller’s Qantas Frequent Flyer membership number are quoted at the time of booking. An eligible booking must include a domestic or international flight with a Qantas ‘QF’ flight number on the ticket that is purchased in Australia; has a ticket number commencing with ‘081’; and is booked and travelled for business on or after the date the business registers for Qantas Business Rewards. Points will be credited to the Frequent Flyers account within 6 weeks from the date of travel. Points cannot be withdrawn from members’ account once credited if the booking is changed or cancelled. No retrospective claims can be made for this offer.



10 THE INTERVIEW Michael Naphtali AM Partner - Rampersand

15 FEATURED NEWS 14 FEATURED NEWS Unveiled: Port Melbourne’s latest $30m industrial development Surga Central integrates with DevelopmentReady


Julius Colman AM Founder - MCS Property

12 INSIGHTS Brae Sokolski Priciples for success


35 PODCAST Vanessa Fajnkind Brook Recruitment



Kristy-Lea Moussi Only Hospitality Group

July / August 2022 – 5






Australian Venue Company have taken a major step in bolstering their portfolio in Western Australia, by securing nine pubs in-and-around Perth. Included in the deal are Durty Nelly’s, Generous Squire, Market Grounds, Galway Hooker, The Peach Pitt, the Scarborough Beach Bar, and the Bassendean Hotel, all purchased from Ark Group. The final two properties that form part of this batch of acquisitions were part of an asset swap; AVC received Perth’s Royal Hotel, and Applecross’s The Raffles, whilst Colonial Leisure Group have obtained two Melbourne venues in Albert Park’s The Vincent, and South Melbourne’s O’Connell’s Hotel. The shopping centre REIT, SCA Property Group have acquired five shopping centres. The sites include the following: the Dernancourt Shopping Centre and Fairview Green Shopping Centre, both situated in South Australia; the Brassall Shopping Centre and Port Village Shopping Centre, both situated in Queensland; and the Tyne Square Shopping Centre, in Western Australia. The biggest sale of the group was for the Brassall Shopping Centre, which cost SCA $46.5 million, reflecting a 5.3 per cent full let yield. Sydney’s Barwon Investment Partners have secured four properties across both Western Australian and Queensland. Among the assets are an eye surgery clinic at Spring Hill in Brisbane, a 143-bay car park located in the same precinct, as well as a two-storey building predominantly leased to a clinical research company in Joondalup, and a community mental health facility in the outer Perth suburb of Butler. Developer Iris Capital has purchased a bevy of Alice Springs hospitality and tourism sites, including the Mecure Hotel, Stay at Alice Springs Hotel (formerly known as the Aurora Hotel), the Gap View Hotel, Todd Tavern, and the Diplomat Motel. According to Sam Arnaout, the Iris Capital's Managing Director, the businesses will continue along their current trajectories, and there are no plans to redevelop the properties in any notable way. 16 properties from the late Harry Oviss’s private portfolio have sold at an auction conducted by the commercial real estate agency, Fitzroys. Carried by the strength of the shopping strip sector, the entire collection was sold for a 100% clearance rate, on an extremely sharp net yield of 2.99%.


V: Ark Group P: Australian Venue Company

$30 million


V: Primewest P: SCA Property Group


$180 million


P: Barwon Investment Partners Direct

Circa $45 million

Alice Springs

P: Iris Capital

HTL Property

Circa $50 million



$29.14 million

Fitzroys' Tom Fisher, Mark Talbot, and Chris Kombi






Collection of Perth hospitality venues


Australian Venue Company have taken a major step in bolstering their portfolio in Western Australia, by securing nine pubs in-and-around Perth. Included in the deal are Durty Nelly’s, Generous Squire, Market Grounds, Galway Hooker, The Peach Pitt, the Scarborough Beach Bar, and the Bassendean Hotel, all purchased from Ark Group. The final two properties that form part of this batch of acquisitions were part of an asset swap; AVC received Perth’s Royal Hotel, and Applecross’s The Raffles, whilst Colonial Leisure Group have obtained two Melbourne venues in Albert Park’s The Vincent, and South Melbourne’s O’Connell’s Hotel. A restored heritage building located in the trendy west end of Fremantle has sold to local investors who plan to continue the legacy of the iconic restaurant tenant, Roma Cucina. The purchaser has acquired 807 sqm of total land area in one of Fremantle's most popular catchments.

V: Ark Group P: Australian Venue Company

$30 million

9-19 High Street, Fremantle

LJ Hooker Commercial Perth's Brian Neo

V: Ortana Pty Ltd P: High Street Mena Pty Ltd

$3.5 million






93 Ferries McDonald Road, Monarto South VIMG have purchased an ex-Big W distribution centre in Monarto South, 60 kilometres south east of Adelaide. Billed as South Australia’s largest vacant possession distribution centre, the property is to be offered as a whole, or in tenancies from 10,000 sqm. The landholding has 36.5-hectares that contain over 64,000 sqm of total gross lettable area, and is positioned within the industrial hub of Monarto.

$21.45 million

V: Lendlease Australian Prime Property Fund Industrial P: VIMG

Knight Frank's Guy Bennett and David Ludlow, in conjunction with One Commercial's Joshua Charles and Simon Kent






101 Jerrabomberra Ave, Symonston

The Geoscience Australia headquarters in Symonston is to be sold at over $370 million. The transaction will be the most expensive office sale in Canberra, supplanting the previous record high, $335 million.

Circa $370 million

V: Real IS P: Charter Hall

Colliers' Paul Powderly, Matthew Winter, Adam Woodward, and James Mitchell, in conjunction with JLL's Tim Mutton, Luke Billiau, and James Barber

6 –July / August 2022


VENDOR/ PURCHASER V: The Goodman Group P: Frasers Logistics and Commercial Trust





The Goodman Group have parted ways with three recently completed industrial properties in the western Melbourne suburb of Truganina. The sites are fully leased to four tenants, and all three have been purchased by Frasers Logistics and Commercial Trust (FLCT). With rent in the area up 15% over the course of the past year, FLCT saw this as a prime opportunity for acquisition. Sydney-based fund manager VIMG has purchased a vacant Nestle food processing plant. The 78.2-hectare site contains 23,009 sqm over a variety of buildings. VIMG are currently seeking a tenant for the property, preferably in the food industry, as the asset is fully equipped for immediate production. The property set to house the Riverwalk Town Centre, in the new Riverwalk residential development, has been purchased. Located three kilometres from the Werribee Town Centre, the Riverwalk development already accommodates more than 2,500 residents, and contains a primary school, an early education centre, and two community parks. One of Australia’s largest bedding furniture retailers, Bedshed, has purchased a property on the busy Howitt Street, in the Ballarat suburb of Wendouree. The 1,160 sqm showroom at 1331 Howitt Street was previously a car yard, prior to being redeveloped by Fair Price Furniture. The 2,109 sqm vacant allotment is earmarked for the development of two side-by-side office/warehouses, which will comprise a building area of approximately 757 sqm each. Epworth Healthcare has acquired a two-storey art deco office that sits directly beside its Richmond hospital. 99-101 Bridge Road was held by two separate owners; Epworth paid $2.173 million for 99 Bridge Road, and $1.98 million for the slightly smaller 101 Bridge Road. Epworth is expected to occupy the Commercial 1-zoned building.


$61 million

1-85 Bosse Road, Tongala



Circa $18 million

Riverwalk Town Centre

V: Development Victoria P: Oreana Group

Colliers' Mike Crittenden and Tim McIntosh

$12.3 million

1331 Howitt Street, Wendouree

V: Fair Price Furniture P: Bedshed

$3.5 million

Leedwell's Chris Parry

45 Longford Road, Epping


Colliers' Mitch Purcell and Corey Vraca $2.475 million

99-101 Bridge Road, Richmond

V: Individual, private owners P: Epworth Healthcare

99 Bridge Road: Melbourne Commercial Group's Peter Cameron; 101 Bridge Road: Dixon Kestles' Mark Smedley

$4.153 million

120 Jolimont Road, East Melbourne

The former AFL House at 120 Jolimont Road has been purchased. The 1,068 sqm property possesses a five-storey, B-grade office.

Colliers' Oliver Hay, Matthew Stagg, Daniel Wolman, Peter Bremner, and Leon Ma

V: Group of private investors P: Fab Ippoliti

$25 million

2A Hereward Close, Cowes

A contemporary home in the Phillip Island township of Cowes has been sold to independent Presbyterian boys school, Scotch College, as they continue the expansion of their waterfront camp site at Cowes. A renovated mansion in Richmond has sold to Melbourne Indigenous Transition School, who will transform the property into a boarding house for male, Year 7 students. The freehold was marketed with major development upside, despite the central 12-room building at the address requiring preservation. The freehold has been home to the outgoing owner occupier Police Association of Victoria and their headquarters. The Police Association will be vacating the property next year, after holding the asset for 22 years. The 141-hectare site at 15 Avalon Road has been re-zoned subsequent to a planning scheme amendment, and with the new zoning of C2Z set to accommodate both commercial and industrial uses, the property sold for a significant sum. Residential developer Noetic Places has purchased a vacant 3,662 sqm, amalgamated site in one of the Bayside’s most prestigious suburbs, on a $4,731 sqm land rate. Victoria Police Legacy have sold their office at 71 Drummond Street, Carlton, for $850,000 above their reserve price of $2.525 million. The mixed-use zoning of the site is allowing the buyer to rent out the property for both residential and commercial purposes. The not-for-profit vendors are relocating to Burwood East. The Sunbury Veterinary Clinic at 41 Gap Road has sold on a tight yield of 3.7%. Sporting a new five-year lease that includes options, the new owner has acquired a secure essential business, on a property comprised of 826 sqm of land area. One of Melbourne’s most esteemed private schools, Xavier College, has sold its junior school Brighton Campus at Kostka Hall to Jeff Xu’s Golden Age, for a speculated $100 million. Over 3.29-hectares, the site contains significant development potential.

P: Scotch College

Obrien Judith Wright's Joshua Dunstan $3.525 million

364 Chuch Street, Richmond

P: Melbourne Indigenous Transition School

$6.5 million

Abercromby's Ada Taylor

1-19 Clarendon Street, East Melbourne

Colliers' Oliver Hay, Matthew Stagg, Daniel Wolman, Peter Bremner, and Leon Ma Knight Frank's Stephen Kelly, James Thorpe, Andrew Gallucci, and Michael Satterley Colliers Development Sites' Hamish Burgess, Joe Kairouz, and Jozef Dickinson Belle Property's Scott McElroy and Lauren McElroy


V: Police Association of Victoria P: Entity owned by Elizabeth Ring

$95 million

15 Avalon Road, Avalon

P: Universal Corporation

$17.325 million

28-34 Service Street, Hampton

P: Noetic Places

$3.375 million

71 Drummond Street, Carlton

V: Victoria Police Legacy

$1.81 million

41 Gap Road, Sunbury

P: Melbourne-based investor

Aston Commercial's Liam Rafferty and Jeremy Gruzewski

Circa $100 million

Kostka Hall, Brighton

V: Xavier College P: Golden Age Development Group

Colliers' Trent Hobart, Hamish Burgess, John Marasco, and Yvonne Zhou, with Michael Jackson of JACX Property as transaction manager.

July / August 2022 – 7







Woolworths Narrabri

The supermarket at 181-189 Maitland Street sold on a yield of 4.4%.

Savills' Peter Tyson and Jon Tyson

V: Whistle Funds Management P: Peter Brukner

$16.5 million

202-210 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills

In an off-market transaction, a newly-constructed, high-end hotel at 202-210 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills has sold to an onshore hotelier.

V: 8Hotels & Jonathon Hasson P: Onshore hotelier

Colliers' Joseph Lin

$30 million

153-157 Walker Street, North Sydney

GWOF are planning to construct a 46,000 sqm office tower on the combined sites, with construction expected to commence subsequent to the opening of the new transport hub, Victoria Cross Station, situated just five minutes away.

153 Walker Street - P: GWOF; 157 Walker Street - V: GWOF P: Marprop Real Estate Investors, GLL Real Estate Partners


$185 million

R8-9 Waterfront Dining & Retail, Barangaroo

R8-9 Waterfront Dining & Retail is being acquired by Brisbane-based funds house Marquette, as they continue to add to their portfolio of office buildings and retail holdings. The properties are comprised of 20 tenancies, that include restaurants, cafes and other retailers. Developed back in 1918 by John Whelan, the three-storey pub has been with the family for over a century, and occupies a significant 2,067 sqm corner site directly adjacent to Strathfield train station. With two bars, a restaurant, a gaming room with 30 electronic gaming machines, and 25 guest suites, the Strathfield Hotel accrues annual income in excess of $10 million.

V: Lendlease / P: Marquette


Circa $96.53 million

Strathfield Hotel

$80 million

V: Whelan family P: Iris Capital

HTL Property's Andrew Jolliffe and Daniel Dragicevich

$315 million

57 Ashmore Street and 165 Mitchell Road, Erskineville

Coronation have plans to develop just over 1000 apartments on their newly acquired land, some of which are earmarked as Build-to-Rent. Additionally, approximately 5,000 sqm of retail space is also planned.

V: Greenland and Golden Horse Australia P: Coronation Property

Colliers' Guillaume Volz, Eugene White, Henry Burke, and Joseph Lin

$115 million

Reservoir on Crown, Surry Hills

Reservoir on Crown was built in 1960 and redeveloped by Mirvac in 2009, and has a net lettable area of 4,727 sqm, and sits on one of the largest sites in Surry Hills, at 3,058 sqm.

V: LaSalle Investment Management P: The Shakespeare Property Group

Knight Frank’s Paul Roberts, Jonathon Vaughan, Tim Holtsbaum and Dominic Ong, alongside JLL’s Mitch Noonan, Luke Billiau, Sophie Tieman, and James Aroney

$47 million

Tacking Point Tavern, Port Macquarie

The 6,700 sqm pub possesses a spacious beer garden and Port Macquarie’s largest outdoor screen, and serves as the latest in a string of deals in Port Macquarie, prompted by the coastal town’s population swelling as people continue to move away from metropolitan Sydney.

V: Taphouse Group P: Laundy family and Alistair Flower

HTL Property's Andrew Jolliffe and Daniel Dragicevich

$3.35 million

KFC Bomaderry, 166 Cambewarra Road As part of the Stonebridge National Portfolio Auction, the freestanding KFC in Bomaderry’s retail core has sold for an extremely sharp yield of 2.89%.

P: Melbourne-based investor Stonebridge Property Group's Michael Collins, Tom Moreland, and Rorey James

8 –July / August 2022






502 Hope Island Road, Helensvale

The Homeworld Helensvale homemaker centre, situated on a 20-hectare site, has been acquired by an offshore investor. Located north of Surfers Paradise, the asset is comprised of 36,000 sqm in lettable area, and possesses over 60 stores, including Adairs, Carpet Court, Snooze, and The Good Guys. Additionally, much of the site is currently undeveloped, meaning growth for the property is assured. The asset is located in Caboolture, which is located 44km north of Brisbane’s CBD, and contains 12,379 sqm, anchored to a Coles outlet. The site is comprised of 28 specialty stores and 250 basement car parks. The conjoined Ascot Medical Centre and QML Pathology facilities at 79 Racecourse Road have sold at Burgess Rawson’s 153rd Portfolio Auction, during the Brisbane leg of the three-day event. A DC1 District Centre zoned site comprising over 756 sqm, the property sold for a yield of 4.07% First established in 1864, The Boundary has recently been home to significant refurbishment, conducted back in 2018 by JP Architects. All venue staff will be retained, and the pub will continue to operate as per usual, according to AVC representatives. Consisting of 2,795 sqm in lettable space, the shopping centre is anchored by a Drakes Supermarket outlet, as well as four specialty stores and a first-storey office.

P: Offshore investor

$300 million

Colliers' Lachlan MacGillivray and Stewart Gilchrist, in conjunction with Stonebridge's Philip Gartland

Caboolture Square

V: Alceon P: IJ Capital


$60.5 million

79 Racecourse Road, Ascot


$4.301 million

Burgess Rawson's Andrew Havig and Campbell Bowers

The Boundary, West End


P: Australian Venue Company


Emu Park Village

Savills' Jon Tyson and Michael Harcourt $19.95 million

P: Private Victorian-based investor

Tannum Central Shopping Centre

Originally built in 2004, Tannum Central Shopping Centre covers 4,403 sqm in gross floor area, and is anchored by a Coles supermarket, in addition to 14 speciality stores.

V: Whistle Funds Management

Savills' Jon Tyson and Peter Tyson

$18.5 million

Eco Village Mission Beach

The property contains 17 bungalows, a couples retreat, a resort style pool, a restaurant with function facility, and is situated on a 9,080 sqm site.


Circa $3 million

JLL Hotel and Hospitality Groups' Gareth Closter

Gowrie Junction Road, Cotswold Hills

Two Cotswold Hills development sites that serve as part of the Essence Land Estate have sold for a total of $10.6 million. The northern portion sold for $3.6 million, whilst the southern portion sold for $7.5 million. Country Club Living are planning to develop a 183-unit retirement village and residents private nine-hole golf course at the northern portion of the estate. The 20,189 sqm site, which was formerly home to the West Brisbane Tennis Centre, has been sold to Kingsmede, who have intentions to develop a first-class multi-unit industrial development on the site. The property is comprised of four buildings that contain 11,067 sqm total. Amongst the most significant tenants are major national brands like Sydney Tools Officeworks, and Supercheap Auto. The NRL’s controlling body, the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has acquired Brisbane’s luxury Gambaro Hotel. The 68-room hotel on Caxton Street, situated only 300 metres away from Suncorp Stadium, has been purchased as part of the ARLC’s strategy of investing in hard yielding assets. The four-storey Chevron Australia headquarters has sold for a 5.3% net yield. The building was constructed in 2016 for Chevron, with the company committing to a 15-year term, and contains a net lettable area of 5,040 sqm, as well as a 4-star NABERS energy rating. A 2.75-hectare property at 439 Tamborine Oxenford Road has sold. The site was marketed with a current development approval for a 112-bed residential aged care facility, but the purchaser is reportedly intending to pursue a residential land subdivision on the site.

$10.6 million

Northern portion - V: Hillscorp Developments / P: Country Club Living; southern portion - V: Hillscorp Developments / P: Homecorp

Ray White Special Projects' Mark Creevey, Tony Williams, and Matthew Fritzsche

227 Archerfield Road

V: Joyce family P: Kingsmede

Knight Frank's Paul Anderson and Mark Clifford


$57 million

1-17 Compton Road, Underwood

P: Newmark Property

CBRE's Joe Tynan and Michael Hedger


Gambaro Hotel

V: Gambaro family P: Australian Rugby League Commission

HTL Property's Nic Simarro, Glenn Price, Brent McCarthy, and Andrew Jackson

$46.5 million

365 MacArthur Avenue, Hamilton

V: RF Corval P: Sydney-based private investor

CBRE's Jack Morrison and Adelaide O'Brien, in conjunction with Cushman & Wakefield's Peter Court, Mike Walsh, and Frederic Le Fanau Ray White Special Projects' Tony Williams, Mark Creevey and Matthew Fritzsche

$4.25 million

439 Tamborine Oxenford Road

P: South East Queensland- based developer

July / August 2022 – 9

The Interview





Michael Naphtali is a partner at Rampersand and former CEO of Pratt Group. This is an exclusive one-on-one interview.

He studied in Chicago during one of its most volatile periods . “You saw a divide in society. Blacks lived here, whites lived there.” After spending his youth in Melbourne and completing a Bachelor of Economics at Monash University, Naphtali spent the years between 1970 and 1972 at the University of Chicago, studying an MBA. At the time, the city had a tense disposition. “It was the end of the Nixon era... the whole university closed down at the time of the primaries, because two years earlier there were the riots in Grant Park.” That said, he expresses an appreciation for what he learnt at the institution. Mainly, the importance of presentation. “Americans are all about marketing. Some say that’s gloss and spin. But it was really learning to present the positive. State your case. Be clear. That was one of the great lessons.” He had to write his own offer letter for Visy Industries. Naphtali was head-hunted by Richard Pratt to join Visy Industries in 1978, but was initially hesitant to join. “My late father could see going from an established bank to a smallish private company; that didn’t seem like a great career move in his view.”

But it wasn’t just the size and market share of the organisation that gave Naphtali pause. Part of his uncertainty stemmed from the lack of formality at the company. “I [wanted] a job offer... Visy had never written an offer letter to any employee before. I finished up writing my own, and taking it over to Richard’s place and getting him to sign it.” That was just the beginning of Michael’s work in formalising the structure of Visy Industries; a task that proved quite consuming. “There were no clear budgets... and when I tried to put in timetables and said, “You need to have the information in by whatever date”, the manager [would say], “And what if I don’t?” Creating a more ordered system of processes also involved getting his hands dirty, and being more stringent with receivables. Some of the company’s clients were lackadaisical with payments, and Naphtali had to sort that out. “I rang the CEOs of those companies... and I said, “Fair’s fair, but they’re the terms. You’ve got the price you want. You’ve got to pay.” And I had some success.” Getting his hands dirty was part of his responsibilities in the early days of his involvement in Visy Industries, and it’s part of the reason Naphtali became successful.

10 –July / August 2022

The Interview






Julius Colman AM is an acclaimed lawyer, property pioneer & philanthropist, who throughout a storied career over the course of more than four decades, has been involved in a number of market- shaping deals and transactions across a range of industry sectors. His story is a classic tale of entrepreneurialism, hard-work and free enterprise - born during a period of significant upheaval that was Poland in 1946, Julius & his family migrated to Australia in 1951, and like many of his generation, embarked on a journey to establish a more prosperous, fulfilling life for themselves in a Country that offered safety and opportunity. Following graduation from Elwood College in Melbourne’s Inner South in 1963, Julius attended the University of Melbourne, completing both undergraduate and master’s degrees in law before commencing his career as a solicitor before being appointed a partner suburban Melbourne law firm McGrath Colman Stewart in 1969. Recognising an opportunity to syndicate client funds into residential and commercial developments, McGrath Colman Stewart ushered in a new era of

property investment across Melbourne, quickly establishing a health client base and a reputation for their innovative, lateral thinking approach. The firm launched MCS Property in 1992 as a listed vehicle and began to undertake large-scale property syndications predominantly across the retail & commercial sectors, with initial acquisitions including a car park and retail plaza in Adelaide for $25m and the $31m purchase of the Nepean Square Shopping Centre in Sydney’s Penrith. By 1997, MCS Property had invested in fifteen assets both domestically and in London, with a total value of some $250m and returns exceeding $30m per annum, before being acquired by Centro in 2003 in a $193m deal. Following the sale of MCS, Julius was a foundation investor & major shareholder in ASX-listed Japara Healthcare before concentrating his resources toward charitable endeavours, including the Colman Foundation. Our discussion explores Julius’s family background, career in the law and his successes pursuits across the fields of property investment & development, healthcare, poker and charity.

July / August 2022 – 11

Industry Insights



Brae Sokolski is a man of substance. Ambitious but humble. Smart but unassuming. A man who places good relationships, contributing a legacy to society and ‘doing the right thing’ at the forefront of his business decisions. It was therefore no surprise to uncover the many layers of his success in this interview, and that which sits beneath his title of ‘Executive Director and Co-founder of MaxCap’. Here we chat to Brae about his insightful predictions from 18 months ago, how everything has panned out and his views on what’s ahead.

Your last interview with Rob Langton was mid- pandemic in December 2020, and you accurately predicted the Melbourne and Sydney housing markets would bounce back by mid 2021. During this period, purchase and planning for The Queensbridge Building development commenced, a $400m mixed-use tower of apartments and hotel rooms. What gave you such great confidence in these markets? What ultimately gave me the confidence to keep moving on projects is the fact that humans are incredibly resilient, and although there is a certain amount of optimism you could argue with that mentality, history tells you that invariably with every crisis there is a recovery. In saying this, I didn’t expect the recovery to be as rapid as it has been. But you would have to have a very dystopian view of the world ahead to think that tourism and travel isn’t going to return, migration isn’t going to return and that we’re all going to be in a state of lockdown for the rest of eternity with no market adjustments.

With the Queensbridge Development in Southbank Melbourne, we just forged ahead in confidence that the crisis would eventually resolve and we move on. The site was purchased in October 2020 mid-pandemic by our long standing and trusted partners Time & Place and Hickory which gave us full confidence to back this project. The development comprises 367 residential apartments and 200 hotel rooms and will be of world class standard including a wellness retreat, outdoor cabanas, open and private pool, yoga studio and more. It will also have co-working spaces, a cafe, private dining room, and a dog spa and is expected to be complete by early 2025. The building itself will re-define the Melbourne skyline so I am incredibly excited to be a part of another major project with Time&Place and Hickory that adds such character and value to the city of Melbourne. Forging ahead and ’starting’ is something you encourage developers to do, especially in residential so as not to affect supply down the track. How are you seeing that pan out?

12 – July / August 2022


During the pandemic there were developers who were ready to get moving, however not enough commenced and still not enough are commencing; there’s a public housing shortage and that’s something that will be exacerbated in the next few years. It’s a real challenge to ensure we have adequate housing supply and we’re doing everything we can to be adaptable as a financier. We’re working closely with the right developers and projects where we know the fundamentals of the market are strong and where we have confidence in the end product. We are definitely trying to help by providing flexible financing solutions for these projects so more developers can keep moving. Do you think rising constructions costs contributed to developers not starting and are you finding these costs are plateauing? We can’t avoid the fact that we, along with other financiers have concerns around the supply chain and inflationary pressures on total construction costs however there is a sense of confidence that it is now going to plateau. The good thing however is that everyone’s eyes are wide open and builders are going into projects understanding this incredibly volatile environment and drawing their prices accordingly with an adequate buffer. We also do a lot of due diligence to ensure they’re strong and are able to insulate themselves from any further supply chain shocks. But looking forward we can be more positive, as most of the failures of builders have now surfaced and there is more stability and acknowledgement of the environment we are in. In 2020 you anticipated the trajectory of non-bank lending vs bank lending in Australia to trend similarly to the US and Europe, that being a more even balance of market share. Has this continued to happen? Non-banks have continued to fill a void and play a critical role in providing credit for the real estate industry and the banks will always be part of our real estate debt market but they should only be a part of it, not hold the main share of it. That to me is a healthier credit market, less homogenous, less reliant on 4 lenders. Developers are getting more tailored solutions and better commercial outcomes by virtue of having non-bankers active in this market. So I think we’re in a healthy credit market. There’s strong competition, and in the non-bank sector importantly, there are very legitimate institutional players who are lending effectively with good risk oversight. I’m very appreciative that we are still maintaining very strong risk standards because it’s important to ensure the ongoing credibility of the non-bank sector. In September 2021, 50% of MaxCap was acquired by Apollo - was this always part of the plan and what benefits has this brought to MaxCap? Yes, it was always part of the long term plan for (business partner) Wayne and I. It’s important to understand your own limitations and we felt we were at the right point in our growth cycle a couple of years ago to commence that process and bring in a large scale institution to take us to the next level. We were incredibly fastidious to find the right partner and landed on Apollo for a number of reasons and we are now supremely confident that we’ve made the right decision. It was the turbo charge we needed; their reach, scale and the gravitas of the Apollo name, to bring in larger capital and sure up the future of the business. Also, the fact that Apollo saw the long term scalability and sustainability in Australia, without having participated in credit in this country before, speaks volumes of how far our local real estate market has come and of our resilience, and to some degree our immunity to a lot of the global shocks that have dislocated the US and European markets this century. In our last interview MaxCap were looking to grow the direct investment arm of the business. How has this progressed since partnering with Apollo? The Apollo relationship is first and foremost about the scale and volume on the debt side of the business. Our direct investment arm of the business however has been a hugely virtuous one that has grown since we last spoke, but it is a deliberate, separate business unit, a different skill set to when you’re a lender. However we’re not interested in being the developer and executing, we’re the capital partner who team with the right developers to get the job done. As at end of May, we’ve deployed half a billion dollars in direct investment with an end of project value over $4 billion. It’s a significant business in its own right and it just enhances our value proposition to the market, as we not only bring in capital but also our own expertise. In terms of our developer clients we are very selective with who we participate with, they are the best degree developers only and we will continue to back and support them and grow this part of the business.

A reserved view about investment in the office sector was discussed in your previous interview. Has your view on this changed? With regards to the office sector, there has been an impetus for an evolution. People are now going to come out with better office environments and I think long term its going to be better in terms of work-life balance. The irony is that rather than instigating an abandonment of office buying, its actually posed the energy on investing more heavily in offices whether it is fit-outs for companies or buildings for developers, to ensure we’re motivating and giving employees a reason to want to come in to an environment that’s conducive to productivity. We’ve recently committed to office space in Melbourne ourselves, and are investing heavily in an incredible space to ensure our people want to come in and genuinely enjoy being there. The travesty that has led to the dislocation where most people spend most of their working life at home, I don’t think that’s a healthy outcome in terms of their mental health. It’s important to have interpersonal relationships and places to collaborate with people and although previously I had concerns, where we are today mid 2022, I am incredibly sanguine about the future of the office sector and the office market in general. MaxCap has been aligned with ESG for some time however you set up an official ESG Advisory Board in 2021. How has it helped/hindered your business? ESG has gone from being a nice to have 10 years ago to a non-negotiable. It is innate in the way we operate now. Our institutional clients want to see businesses that aren’t purely focused on the bottom line so you can no longer just be about a cold calculus of profit and loss or risk and return. It is also about ‘Are you doing the right thing? Are you being socially conscious? Are you supporting real estate projects that have an environmental benefit and are you ensuring that all your developments and suppliers are aligned with ESG criteria?’ These are principles that we at MaxCap are passionate about in our business anyway so it’s been very much MaxCap led, not investor led. We want to do this. We want our decisions to generate more than just good returns. In saying this, it’s not about compromising returns either. It’s about being conscious of it and making sure what you’re doing is the right thing not only the profitable thing. All our investments are in ESG alignment and we are certainly managing to outperform the market whilst being still very conscious of ESG principles. What drives someone like yourself to success with both MaxCap and racing? Whether it’s MaxCap or my racing interests it’s about achieving great things and I’ve always been a believer of focusing on the means and the end will take care of itself. “Legacy” is a word often used by entrepreneurs but for me it is not about self-aggrandisement, it is about making a difference and doing something that’s great whether it’s through MaxCap and enhancing the ability of projects, seeing projects come to fruition or changing the landscape of our credit market by being at the forefront of the ship with banks and non-banks. They’re important legacies that don’t have anything to do with me personally, but that I’m a part of. With racing, drawing the industry into the mainstream and having others see the joy I have in owning racehorses and being involved in racing, which I do zealously, that’s the legacy that is important. Not me having my name up in lights or holding the Melbourne Cup. I’m also extremely involved in and interested in the breeding of horses - I love being around them and wish I could spend more time with them and my dream moving forward is to breed a Melbourne Cup winner. All these things are genuinely what drive me to make a difference to the industries that I’m passionate about. Finally, what is the best and most rewarding thing about your MaxCap journey so far? Best thing about my journey with MaxCap has nothing to do with the projects, it’s the people. I’m so privileged to work with incredible people and to have incredible investors. I’m in such close proximity with some of the largest investors and most dynamic entrepreneurs of this country. That is the best part of this business and this journey because you can have all the technical skills you like to be successful but the single most important thing is relationships and understanding people and being able to have that emotional intelligence. That is the number one criteria to be successful in business. Everything else is secondary.

July / August 2022 – 13

Featured News




Award-winning and diversified property development group Perri Projects have unveiled plans for its latest urban logistics-centred industrial development, Prime Port, a former manufacturing site located at 359 Plummer Street, Port Melbourne . Purchased for $15.5m, the 8,000m2 site will undergo extensive upgrades to maximise the existing potential of the building and deliver a suite of ready-to-occupy industrial and commercial spaces comprising of offices, showrooms and warehouses. Designed to provide a flexible offering to the inner-city logistics market, tenants will be able to select from a range of self-contained, hybrid spaces spanning from 400m2 to 2000m2 in size. They will feature bold industrial interiors, with polished concrete floors, high ceilings accentuated by exposed trusses and amenities such as fitted kitchens and quality end-of-trip facilities more typically associated with high-grade commercial offerings in the CBD. Also, by reusing existing materials and retaining the integrity of the building’s original structure, the site will deliver on Perri Projects’ commitment to developing net-zero or low-carbon projects. David Scalzo, Managing Director of Perri Projects, said Prime Port’s modern commercial and industrial offering would be unlike anything else seen in the area. “There is currently a scarcity of modern industrial and commercial spaces in the Port Melbourne area and Prime Port is designed to meet this market demand, offering unrivalled flexibility and amenity to suit a broad range of industrial and commercial requirements. These major repositioning works will also assist in encouraging staff back into the workplace post Covid….(as) we recognise that workplace design is critical to employee and customer engagement. Prime Port’s tenants will enjoy a contemporary workplace with a unique identity that pays homage to the building’s industrial history while maximising functionality and usability,” he said

Prime Port forms part of Perri Projects’ broader central and strategic logistics (CSL) strategy, which focuses on delivering best-in-class commercial and industrial precincts in prime urban and city fringe locations. By bringing together a diverse mix of tenants in a space with unique history and character, these precincts will support a thriving future employment environment. Located within the Fishermans Bend precinct, the development is strategically positioned close to the Port of Melbourne and is only a couple of kilometres from the CBD, with easy access to major arterial roads including the West Gate Freeway and Williamstown Road. It also has the added benefit of close proximity to the recently opened full line Woolworths Supermarket and Dan Murphys, and the recently opened Port Melbourne vertical secondary school which can accommodate 1,100 students. “On completion, Prime Port is projected to be worth $30m, further bolstering our CSL project portfolio, which is sitting at $400m in developable value and continues to grow.” Paul O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Lemon Baxter, said Prime Port’s attractive offering was expected to appeal to a diverse mix of clients including trade sales, eCommerce, small logistics and creatives. Upgrade works on Prime Port have commenced and are expected to reach completion in September this year. Also on track for completion in early 2023 is Phase One of Lennon Mills, Perri Projects’ 1.5 Hectare, $100 million urban logistics industrial park in West Melbourne. Developed in partnership with Wingate Property, the future-focused Lennon Mills will be an industrial creative hub while catering to the demand for Grade A urban logistics spaces on the fringe of the CBD. Managed by 2Construct Complete Construction Solutions, construction commenced in February 2022 with restoration works of the mill, silos and recycling of original materials all honouring the rich history of the original site.

14 – July / August 2022




Adept Business Systems, developer of the Surga Central Commercial Proptech platform, has announced the release of an integration feed to Ready Media Group’s DevelopmentReady portal.

Using this feed, Australian commercial real estate agencies using Surga Central can now easily automate the process of creating and updating development listings on DevelopmentReady. DevelopmentReady is an Australian property portal by Ready Media Group. The portal showcases development sites for sale nationwide (both development approved and development potential). Surga Central provides a Proptech platform focused on commercial property. “Excess demand for commercial real estate, especially industrial stock, is continuing to drive investors to focus on development sites,” said Steve Clark, CEO of Adept Business Systems. “This new feed to DevelopmentReady is attracting interest nationwide by enabling agencies to quickly expose development sites to the market,” added Clark.

Nick Materia, CEO of Ready Media Group said, “This is a very welcome integration from both Ready Media Group and our clients. Agents who already use our portals will now find it effortless to list with us, and those who are yet to, will have the opportunity to easily place themselves in front of around 70,000 industry related users and subscribers via our platforms.” Leedwell Property, a prominent South Australian and Victorian commercial agency, is the first Australian agency to have installed the technology. Commenting on the initiative, Jamie Guerra, Partner at Leedwell, said, “The DevelopmentReady portal is fast becoming an integral part of marketing campaigns when Leedwell list development sites on behalf of our clients. The recent portal integration between Surga and the Ready Media Group creates efficiencies for Leedwell and assists our team in ensuring successful outcomes for our clients.”

July / August 2022 – 15

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