11/06/2020 - 15:38

Celsius Land signals new focus

11/06/2020 - 15:38

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Celsius Property Group has added land development to its portfolio, appointing former Satterley Property Group executive Brenton Downing to lead the expansion.

Celsius Land signals new focus
Brenton Downing (left) and Richard Pappas say Celsius Land has a number of acquisition targets. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Celsius Property Group has added land development to its portfolio, appointing former Satterley Property Group executive Brenton Downing to lead the expansion.

The integrated property group was co-founded by managing director Richard Pappas, who launched the development arm (previously named City-Life developments) 14 years ago, with the (then) four partners pooling about $100,000 each to launch an eight-townhouse development in Belmont.

The company, now led by six partners, has grown to comprise development, finance, property and strata management services, with 500 rentals on its books.

Mr Pappas said the group had honed its business model in the infill market.

One of the group’s latest projects, the 105-apartment Vic Quarter in Victoria Park (on behalf of landowner Fowler Group), ranked as Perth’s top-selling apartment project two quarters running, according to Urbis.

“While we have refined our craft on the near-city infill market of villas, townhouses, apartments and mixed-use developments, 76 per cent of all dwellings across Perth are detached housing,” Mr Pappas told Business News.

“For us, the opportunity to expand into the land development space was on the backburner.”

Mr Pappas said a serendipitous coffee meeting with Mr Downing, following years of conversations on the sidelines of their sons’ footy games, prompted the business to move into land development.

“One discussion led to another and Celsius Land was formed,” he said.

“We wouldn’t be entering this market at this time if we weren’t able to bring Brenton on as an equity partner in the business to effectively lead the company with his 20 years’ experience, specifically his number of years of land development experience in Perth.”

Previously general manager of development Western Australia at Satterley, Mr Downing said Celsius Land would target projects with a clear differentiation in regards to price, product and presentation, in addition to providing development advice and management services to third parties.

“We are project managing a development in the south-east of Perth, however, we can’t disclose the project yet,” Mr Downing told Business News.

“We are also actively looking at a number of acquisition opportunities.”

Celsius Land’s preferred land development projects ranged from 50 to 200 lots in size, with a value on completion in the range of $8 million to $40 million.

“Our view is that Perth’s low vacancy rate and affordable house prices positions it better to weather the current uncertainty from COVID-19 than other Australian capital cities,” Mr Downing said.

“We believe that COVID-19 will make the open space of Perth more attractive.

We expect that employers and employees will now be more willing to work from home and that lower density housing, with more local employment, will be seen by many as a healthy way of living.”

Mr Downing was positive about the future, pointing to the emerging resilience of local markets in recent weeks, with more activity in both the apartment and land markets.

“With further restrictions being eased, we are optimistic that sales will continue to recover in the coming months,” he said.

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