01/07/2020 - 05:51

Fini Group, Linc to merge

01/07/2020 - 05:51

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Property developers Adrian Fini and Ben Lisle have merged their operations under the name Hesperia, with the new entity having nearly $1 billion of projects under development and a busy pipeline of future opportunities.

Fini Group, Linc to merge
MERGED: Ben Lisle (L) and Adrian Fini have worked and invested together for 15 years.

Property developers Adrian Fini and Ben Lisle have merged their operations under the name Hesperia, with the new entity having nearly $1 billion of projects under development and a busy pipeline of future opportunities.

Hesperia’s major projects will include Fini Group’s Murdoch Health and Knowledge Precinct. 

It will also manage the redevelopment of the Leederville Hotel, which is being integrated with a new office building for Dale Alcock’s ABN Group.

Other projects on its books include Roe Highway Logistics Park and Tonkin Hwy Industrial Park, from the Linc Property stable.

A new addition to the group’s portfolio is a 17-hectare industrial site acquired from Aurizon.

Mr Lisle said the Abernethy Rd industrial estate would be repurposed for freight and logistics.

The merger comes after the two men have spent nearly 15 years working together, as well as operating from common premises in Subiaco.

They have also been investing in each other’s projects.

For instance, they teamed up last year with investment company Birchmead (part of CFC Group) to buy the Midland Brick site from Boral for $86 million.

The name of the new company means ‘western land’ and reflects its Western Australian heritage.

The group aspires to be the local leader in urban regeneration, with a focus on projects that provide lasting social and environmental benefits.

“We have a cultural objective and we have a civic objective in our business model, in whatever we deliver, we have always had that attitude,” Mr Fini said.

“And it's well instilled in our teams.

“We see that as part of our equation in all of our projects.”

With a team of 25 people, the group plans to operate across most property classes including commercial, industrial, residential, retail and hospitality.

“We’ve identified what we think are future growth segments and made sure we have the skills to deliver in those areas,” Mr Fini said.

“We’ve been across all those areas in our history, and we know the complexities of those sectors.”

As well as Messrs Fini and Lisle, the group’s directors will be Kyle Jeavons from Fini Group and Judd Dyer and Rowan Clarke from Linc.

Mr Fini said FJM Property – the vehicle he has used in the past for many developments – would be kept separate, as it has evolved into an investment company rather than a developer.

Mr Fini also retains a portfolio of businesses, mostly in the hospitality sector, that he owns with the co-founders of brewing company Little Creatures.

Mr Lisle said the merged business would draw on the strengths of the two founders.

“Where we (Linc) have particular strength is around land planning and approvals,” Mr Lisle explained.

“We’ve been able to drive through complex land rezonings in very short periods of time and dealt with environmental and contamination issues.

“We’ve done brownfields developments on sites that have had heavy industrial uses and were contaminated.

“Adrian’s team have been extremely strong on place making and built form but there are people on his team who have done a lot of residential sub-divisions.

“We play best in things that are complex, where we can add value.”

Explaining the group’s focus, Mr Lisle said it was taking advantage of several major trends.

Industrial and logistics parks were catering to the growth in online retail and ecommerce while the investment in medical precincts was underpinned by the ageing society.

Another opportunity was ‘build to rent’ projects for the residential market.

“When you look at affordability pressures and the wealth shift that’s occurred, millennials are going to struggle with the traditional home ownership models,” Mr Lisle said.

Mr Fini said global institutions were investing in ‘build to rent’.

“It’s definitely a model that’s growing but its lacked depth in Western Australia,” he said.

“I’ve tested it already at Stirling where I kept 50 dwellings out of about 150 as rentals to see how it performs in this market, to see what happens in a crisis.”

He said the result was fantastic, encouraging him to look closer at the opportunities.

With experience in heritage projects, social housing, land development and tourism, Mr Fini saw no shortage of opportunities.

“We’ve got a strong pipeline of opportunities that we are actively working on that will almost double what we presently have,” he said.

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