26/08/2016 - 11:23

Proven performer spun-out as new Rowe Group entity

26/08/2016 - 11:23

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After a quarter of a century, one of Perth’s top planning firms is going back to its roots.

Proven performer spun-out as new Rowe Group entity
CONFIDENT: Greg Rowe is bullish over the project management firm’s prospects. Photo: Attila Csaszar

After a quarter of a century, one of Perth’s top planning firms is going back to its roots.

Planning and urban design firm Rowe Group has marked 25 years in business by spinning-out its project management division into a new entity.

Rowe Group managing director Greg Rowe said his practice was established in 1991 with a big focus on project management, but over the years had evolved to become better known in the industry as a town planning business.

He said the decision to rebrand the project management team as Proven Project Management was designed to reflect the division’s importance to the overall business.

Mr Rowe said the project management business had put more than $1.4 billion worth of work through the Rowe Group office during the past 25 years.

Proven Project Management will remain wholly owned by Rowe Group, but Mr Rowe said it would be marketed as a separate entity.

Current projects by Proven include the $600 million redevelopment of Karrinyup Shopping Centre, Vicinity Centres’ new Direct Factory Outlet mall proposal for Perth Airport, and managing the land tenure process for the Capital Square development at the Old Emu Brewery on Mounts Bay Road.

“Project management has been a mainstream part of our business but to some degree it has been hidden, and we started to appreciate that a year or two ago,” Mr Rowe told Business News.

“Twelve months ago we decided to rebrand the project management side of our business; it’s still a very big part of our overall structure, but we’re marketing it quite separately.

“We were a different practice 25 years ago, so this is a reuniting of us and our skills.”

Mr Rowe said Proven Project Management had been set up to work across all areas of the property sector, from retail and commercial development, to residential and industrial land estates, as well as education and government works.

“The notion of not being too single-focused was important for our business model,” he said.

“We wanted to spread our skills and experience and also insure our business success.

“Being broadly based was our approach; our experience let us do that.”

Mr Rowe said the idea to spin-out a separate business had come after pitching project management services to big retail clients that had employed Rowe Group to carry out planning work.

“(Our clients) were thinking ‘why do we have a town planner doing our project management’?” he said.

“So we gave them a solution with the new entity and our various client groups were persuaded by that approach.”

Proven Project Management senior project manager Chris West said the company had been quite bullish about the rebrand, despite Western Australia’s property sector heading into a significant downturn following its inception.

But he said there would always be opportunity for Proven, because of its ability to provide services across a wide scope of projects.

“For us this is actually a growth period, because retail is one of the few sectors where people are investing large amounts of capital,” Mr West said.

Mr Rowe agreed that retail was a real bright spot in the property sector, saying the massive expansion programs under way by the state’s shopping centre owners (see feature, page 18) represented a huge opportunity due to the complexity of the jobs.

Mr Rowe said the current wave of development had been stoked by planning changes in 2011, which removed a cap on the size to which shopping centres could expand.

“The caps were lifted in 2011, and people are now starting to work out what it might mean and they’ve pushed on from there,” he said. “But although the caps were lifted, it comes with a hook – you can’t just do retail shopping, you have to do other things.

“You have got to do non-retail commercial, so that might be offices or it might mean civic or cultural, and you must do residential.

“That was a big part of our thinking in setting up Proven Project Management.”

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