When a Pair of Graffiti Artists Vandalised One of Thirdi Group’s Sites, Co-Founder Luke Berry Hunted Them Down

When a Pair of Graffiti Artists Vandalised One of Thirdi Group’s Sites, Co-Founder Luke Berry Hunted Them Down

 

 

Where others might have sought some measure of retribution, Berry promptly commissioned a feature wall artwork for Thirdi’s very ecclectic and uber-creative North Sydney offices.

 

This story seems to typify an approach that is as unorthodox as it is calculated; one that is reinforced time and again, from riding segways in the office to a Maserati virtually parked in a luxury living room. From a distance it can all seem a little random – but get sales and marketing director, Luke Berry, talking about lead generation, analytics and cost per acquisition and an abundance of ‘method’ is revealed in the madness.

Walking into our studio with a genuinely infectious enthusiasm and an equally energetic entourage, Mr Berry coolly engages with his team, who are actively closing sales and preparing the next P.R. and social posts while photographer, assistants and stylists jockey around him.

This energy and creativity is definitively Thirdi and manifests in some truly remarkable projects, such as The Gentry of Alexandria which sold 75% of the development on launch at record prices.

Berry is a consumate marketer, adept at identifying the gaps, then harnessing the power of outstanding product, creative marketing, brand partnerships and real time data to capitalise on opportunities and adapt quickly to market signals.

 


“Between the Paragon of Pyrmont, 
Waterloo’s iconic and the gentry of Alexandria, 
Thirdi group is leading the charge in Sydney’s inner city rebirth.”


 

Identifying the gap

 

With sights firmly focused on what has become known as ‘the missing middle’, Thirdi Group has set about attending to the shortage of luxurious, oversize-floorplan offering in Sydney’s inner city suburbs.

As Berry himself recently noted, within the Sydney metro area, the prestige penthouse market has been well accounted for, and the cookie cutter ‘shoebox’ market has become a race to the bottom, with an abundance of lower quality product hitting the market over the last few years in a frenzy to supply eager investors and first home buyers.

Cashed up owner-occupiers looking for a luxury lifestyle in and around the city-bowl, however, are hard-pressed to find an off the plan offering delivering high-end, spacious apartments or townhouses: Enter Thirdi Group.

 

 

It’s the product, Stupid

 

The catch cry amongst respected developers at the moment seems to be  that distinctive quality product will sell, and cookie-cutter stock will sit. At Thirdi the sentiment is no different.

With each project, the innovation and creativity dial seems to ratchet up, delivering The Gentry’s torrens title terraces, housed in a heritage facade, and ultimately the Paragon’s luxurious 5-level terrace townhouses, with 5.5m high entrance hall and internal lift.

 

Outstanding product is the result of outstanding relationships 

 

According to Berry, “any development is the sum of all of its parts, and each supplier brings a little of their own DNA to any particular project.”

Thirdi have forged a strong design understanding with famed architecture firm SJB, appointing them to all four of these inner city projects, with the results evident in the strking geometry of The Paragon, as well as the sensitivity with which the heritage facades of the Gentry and Iconic are expanded upon – marrying modern residential design with original industrial brickwork.

The artistic flare of interiors powerhouse Coco Republic are a regular feature, and their developments are underpinned by builders the likes of Hamilton Marino.

Their relationships with admired brand partners drives engagement and ultimately sales  – and has done so with much success across all of their recent projects, even offering Tesla home battery packs as standard in certain apartments.

Their choice of partner brands is a tactical exercise, positioning Thirdi and its developments alongside innovators and prestige brands, the likes of Tesla, Maserati and Coco Republic, as well as prolific artists, such as GIlli & Marc and Dina Broadhurst.

 

Creativity and analytics go hand in hand when it comes to markting projects 

 

With most of their activity being digital, data is analysed on a regular basis, in order to establish which messages and media platforms are proving most effective.

As a rule of thumb, Berry allocates 1.2% of  gross realisation to sales and marketing. The team has a strong handle on cost per acquisition, with a lead costing around $220 to generate, with varied conversion results depending on project location, audience and price range.

On their signficant Newcastle projects for example, a sale generally requires 40 leads on average, amounting to about $8,800 per conversion, whereas Sydney’s $3m-$4m residences require in the region of 100 leads to secure a sale, making for a grand total of around $22,000 in media cost per conversion.

“Digital is outperforming print across all of our projects, with 68% of recent quality leads in Newcastle generated through digital media with social being the star performer, in the form of Instagram, Wechat, Facebook and LinkedIn.”

With these kinds of benchmark figures on hand, Berry takes his media partners to task on any  underperforming campaigns, monitoring print enquiry and staying on top of the large online portals when their lead numbers don’t stack up.

Agreed targets are taken seriously and securing additional content in the form of advertising and editorial when media partners fall short is important to protect the signicant media dollar investment.

 

Move with the market

 

A hypersensitivity to the market and buyer feedback is a remarkable capability, and the Thirdi team react in real time as information or learnings are acquired. Even the product itself can be modified mid-campaign in response to feedback.

“When the first phase of the Mount Street Residences campaign (part of The Paragon development) ran out of steam, we redesigned the last 6 three bedroom residences. To meet demand for an ultra-exclusive product we changed the design to offer 4 incredible five bedroom terraces.”

This kind of agility in responding to the market is a rarity, and accounts for a great deal of the company’s ability to stand out amongst the cookie cutter landscape by reconfiguring product to meet variations in demand.

 

Opportunities and threats in 2018 through the eyes of Luke Berry

 

A year of normalising lies ahead (as opposed to ‘softening’). “Developers should expect to grind it out” he says.

“For us, ‘at risk’ projects present a once in a cycle opportunity to acquire interests (or indeed entire development sites) to help less experienced or foreign developers navigate through a softer market towards exit or completion.

It’s a pleasing indication to me of the strength of our business, when we have banks ringing to ask us to help out.”“For a company in our position, with a strong track record and banking relationships, this point in the market cycle offers perhaps more opportunity than any other.”

“Generally speaking, Sydney is cheap on an international level – bluechip poperty is underpriced. We need 27,000 homes per year and at full capacity, only 15,000 are deliverable, thanks in a large part to our arduous approvals process.

We will continue to see a demand-driven market for some time to come, although in the short term developers must account for bumps along the way.”

Thirdi Group’s Paragon means perfection

Thirdi Group’s Paragon means perfection

Live a vibrant and connected lifestyle at Eaton on Union

Live a vibrant and connected lifestyle at Eaton on Union

Harbour views and high-end interiors at Stella on Hannel

Harbour views and high-end interiors at Stella on Hannell

Thirdi Group’s innovative plans for smart home automation

2019 Sydney apartment outlook with Thirdi

A Changing Newcastle Welcomes its Latest Project

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Developer Thirdi Group has officially unveiled its latest Newcastle project, launching the next piece in their masterplanned WestEnd precinct, the $104 million “Stella on Hannell”.

Thirdi officially opened their WestEnd display suite last Thursday 19 April to much fanfare. Newcastle Mayor Nutali Nelmes was the special guest and speaker for the evening, welcoming more than 200 guests.

Located on the corner of Hannell and Bishopsgate streets in Newcastle’s burgeoning Wickham, Stella on Hannell comprises two 14-storey residential towers offering a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

Stellar on Hannell boasts some of the best uninterrupted views of the harbour and Newcastle CBD.
Stellar on Hannell boasts some of the best uninterrupted views of the harbour and Newcastle CBD.

Starting at just $420,500 for a one bedroom apartment the launch was a success with 54 apartments sold and 50 per cent of the apartments reserved for purchase.

Thirdi Group director of sales and marketing Luke Berry said interest in Stella on Hannell had been overwhelming.

“To think that we have sold close to $50 million in just two weeks, with the majority sold to local buyers, gives the strongest indication yet that Stella and Newcastle’s WestEnd is the place you want to be.”

“We’ve been getting 50 to 60 enquiries a week and have already had 2000 people register their interest for the launch date.”

The commanding North East aspect looking over the harbour allows for the maximum number of apartments to experience uninterrupted views of the harbour and the city.
The commanding North East aspect looking over the harbour allows for the maximum number of apartments to experience uninterrupted views of the harbour and the city.

Located next to millions of dollars in infrastructure investment including the new $200 million Newcastle interchange Stella is also just a short stroll to the University of Newcastle’s new city campus.

At the launch, Mayor Nutali Nelmes confirmed the council’s commitment to the WestEnd. Highlighting the record $2 billion of infrastructure projects earmarking a once-in-a-generation boom.

The council is only one of many organisations joining the westward march to Wickham – with the New South Wales government recently announcing that it will take 9,000sq m of office space in Wickham.

“Thirdi Group intend to make WestEnd Precinct one of the best areas to live, work and play in Newcastle”

Thirdi Group’s Luke Berry

Stella on Hannell is the developer’s third of four projects for the Wickham precinct, adding to Eaton on Union and WestEnd – the fourth element of the “W.E.S.T” is set to be unveiled in coming months.

Stella on Hannell was named after the daughter of architect Luke Mahaffey of LJM Architecture.

Sydney apartment launched with its own car elevator

For some car enthusiasts, keeping their pride and joy locked away in a garage makes no sense. Why have this perfect piece of machinery if you can’t admire it, even when it’s off the road?

Here is the perfect solution – a new development in Sydney’s Pyrmont has the option of a car lift so you can bring your luxury wheels right into your domain.

The Paragon of Pyrmont development is described as ‘never-before-seen luxury in the heart of Sydney’. It features a selection of 1 and 3 bedroom apartments and exclusive 3, 4 and 5 bedroom townhouses. The jewel in the crown is the Treasury, a mammoth four-bedroom, six-bathroom townhouse.

It’s in this property that a lift to take the car from the garage into a first-floor room is an optional extra in the development.

Coined the ‘Maserati bat cave’, it has gained a huge amount of attention from car lovers worldwide, according to Thirdi Group’s Luke Berry.

“From a concept point of view it’s captured people’s imagination,” he told Robb Report Australia.

● What it’s like to take the world’s most advanced car elevator

The garages are equipped with smart home automation systems which will recognise when the resident’s car is approaching and open the door and turn on the lights automatically.

ParagonPyrmont S051 INT Living Final2000-min

In the five-level townhouses there are Italian marble mosaics in the bathrooms, Gaggenau appliances in the kitchen and Rogerseller-style ‘touch activated’ cabinetry.

ParagonPyrmont S080 INT Rooftop Final2000-min

The private rooftop terrace will provide a sanctuary not often seen in the heart of the city and the gas BBQ and fridge will ensure it’s an entertainer’s delight.

Despite all the opulence, it’s that car lift and ‘bat cave’ that has garnered the most attention. “It will be the first of its kind for this style of car lift,” Berry says.

ParagonPyrmont S020 EXT MillerSt Final2000-min

And if you’re not sure your car is up to scratch for day/night admiration, there is an option to buy a Maserati Quattroporte with the Treasury and car lift option.

The Treasury residence is officially ‘price on application’, however Berry says including the car lift and Maserati, it will be around the $6m mark.

Old meets new: Future proofing with a heritage twist at The Gentry

Step inside the heritage façade of The Gentry, an assemblage of brick, sandblasted glazing and stainless steel, and it will feel, all at once, like a mid-century, modern-day masterpiece.

 It’s 6.30pm on a Friday evening and you’re running late home from work. Friends are coming over at 7pm so to help prepare the space for their arrival, you tap the app on your phone to draw open the blinds, turn on the lights and some music, and adjust the thermostat to 20°C.

This is the sort of innovated brilliance that will enhance the way residents of The Gentry, a Thirdi Group development in Alexandria, go about their daily lives. Thirdi Group’s director of sales and marketing, Luke Berry, says advancements in home technology helped influence the design of the project, which is in line with today’s push toward more personalised interiors.

“On the tech front, our approach to home automation is based on a Google Android system and the AI [Artificial Intelligence] is Cloud-based so it stores the artificial intelligence of you as the home owner in the Cloud,” says Berry.

“The technology will raise the blinds in summer, turn the air conditioning on or start warming the space so that by the time you pull into your garage you are not pulling into a dark and cold space.”

Berry says while The Gentry’s home automation itself is not yet equipped to whip up a large feast on its own, it might soon be able to turn coffee machines on and pour the perfect piccolo. Berry says he is working with home automation providers toward further enhancing the app’s capabilities to anticipate the needs of the homeowner.

Berry likens the technology to J.A.R.V.I.S. (Just a Rather Very Intelligent System), the computerised AI developed to manage everything in comic book superhero Ironman’s life.

Residents of The Gentry will be able to to control lighting, security, wireless entertainment and climate at the tap of an app.
Residents of The Gentry will be able to to control lighting, security, wireless entertainment and climate at the tap of an app.

“The challenge I’ve set my team is to be able to program the coffee machine to make yourself a coffee to time with when you get out of bed or arrive home from work. We are working towards that and we are not too far away from achieving it,” he says.

“Technology has revamped how The Gentry was designed and Thirdi is passionate about pushing for more innovative interfaces that make an incredible impact on the way we live.”

Berry says in addition to being able to control lighting, security, wireless entertainment and climate control at the tap of an app, residents of The Gentry will benefit from the installation of a Tesla Powerwall.

“The home will have the latest generation energy technology in order to learn the habits of the home user,” he explains. “It will be able to research the weather and, if a hot day is predicted, it will store the energy in the battery and turn the air-conditioning on using off-peak power to cool the home before you get home.”

But while delivering the latest in home automation and energy technology, The Gentry is maintaining its ties to the past via its heritage façade – something that Berry is proud of.

Architectural firm SJB were hired to design the contemporary conversion of the exterior, and Lawless & Meyerson for the interiors.

SJB celebrated the building’s light industrial history by preserving the exterior façade. While on the inside, Lawless & Meyerson have designed industrial style kitchens with integrated appliance packages, stone benchtops, stainless steel splashbacks and large format concrete tiles also play on its heritage past.

“I will be able to drive past The Gentry in 10 years and those heritage elements will still be there,” Berry predicts. “To be able to seamlessly mesh old and new and to build a beautiful home that will last the ages is a fantastic achievement.”

The single lock-up garage for each residence include room for bikes and an extensive wine cellar.
The garage for each residence includes room for bikes and an extensive wine cellar.

SJB associate and architect Sevda Cetin agrees, and adds while embracing technology is key to future-proofing a building with a heritage past, there’s also an eagerness to make such a space greener.

“There’s definitely a current movement toward making our urban spaces a lot greener. It’s been proven that it gives people a quality of life, which is definitely looking toward the future,” Cetin says.

“A lot of the architectural implications are quite subtle. We used sandblasted glazing extensively throughout the project, which is undulating in form and allows us to achieve texture. The sandblasted treatment allows for privacy, while still allowing light to come into the interiors.”

Cetin says the company has also used grass-reinforced concrete [GRC] planters; a great technological improvement as they negate the need for waterproofing, which makes landscaping more financially attractive.

She also believes having everything at the touch of a button is very attractive to potential buyers.

“We embrace technology, but not at the detriment of the architecture. Everything that has been done to The Gentry enhances the liveability. We are so technologically bound to our iPads and iPhones that to have that integrated into your home is definitely a plus for any buyer.”

Alexandria: The suburb in transition on the inner-city fringe

A quick scroll through the Bake Bar’s coolly curated Instagram feed is all the proof required that Alexandria is a neighbourhood in transition.

“Alexandria has changed a lot since we opened here three-and-a-half years ago,” says co-owner Rafi Aruch.

“Opening up a giant commercial kitchen and a cafe in Alexandria was a no-brainer. We wanted to increase production, and from a logistics point of view it has been fantastic because of its central location,” says Aruch, who also has Bake Bar Bakery outlets in Randwick and Double Bay.

The Bake Bar Bakery is one of the many cafes and restaurants to open in the Alexandria area in the last five years.The Bake Bar Bakery is one of the many cafes and restaurants to open in the Alexandria area in the last five years. Photo: Bake Bar

“The demographic in Alexandria has changed a lot. It’s got added appeal because of the fact so many people have moved here to work and study,” he adds.

“The people who now call Alexandria home love the location and they are always out and about looking for places to eat and drink and hang out and that has changed the face of the suburb.”

Cool cultural hub

Like many of the formerly scruffy, post-industrial areas of Sydney, the inner-south was always going to be “a prime target” for redevelopment because of its location and range of local amenities. That’s according to Domain’s chief economist Dr Andrew Wilson, who predicts the suburb will continue to prove popular thanks to its location near to transport, good schools, parks, universities and other infrastructure.

A leafy street in Alexandria.A leafy street in Alexandria. Photo: City of Sydney

“Alexandria is obviously primed for higher density living due to its proximity to the CBD and education precinct. It’s the first cab off the rank in terms of that spread downward from Redfern and Marrickville and it will continue to grow because of our never-ending quench for property close to the CBD,” Wilson says.

“When we look at this suburb, the market has been the most consistent since rates started falling in 2011. Affordability was the first driver for the demand for higher-density dwellings. That suburban dream of the white-picket fence becomes less desirable when it remains so expensive.”

A fringe festival

Wilson says suburbs on the fringe of Sydney’s CBD are viewed as desirable places to live as they transform into walkable communities dotted with galleries, quirky design spaces for creatives and cult cafes.

Mecca Cafe in Alexandria.Mecca Cafe in Alexandria. Photo: Ben Rushton

It’s that village vibe that also inspired Alan Thompson to open Barista + Cook on the fringes of Alexandria. This dedicated brew bar is where you will find everyone from cashed-up cool kids to commuters sipping on cold-drip brews by day and enjoying craft beers and burgers on Friday nights.

“In the year that I’ve lived and worked in this area, I’ve seen Alexandria soften. There’s more greenery and there are people walking around and it feels more complete,” says Thompson, a former international DJ.

“There are apartments above us and throughout the day the clientele changes from tradies and commuters to friends, mums with bubs and people conducting business. We are a destination cafe but we are also very representative of the local demographic.”

Architects from SJB will convert the heritage warehouses with sawtooth façades into The Gentry - a luxury collection of terraces.Architects from SJB will convert the heritage warehouses with sawtooth façades into The Gentry – a luxury collection of terraces. Photo: Thirdi Group

The Gentry-fication of Alexandria

While Alexandria’s bars, restaurants, cafes and boutiques are a big part of the suburb’s altered landscape, dramatic changes are also being seen as boutique developments, such as 37-townhouse project The Gentry, bring homes to the suburb that embrace its industrial charm.

Thirdi Property Group’s director of sales and marketing Luke Berry says the gentrification of Alexandria will be complete with The Gentry in William St. He describes the old building as a beloved neighbourhood landmark, which has had several tenancies – from a warehouse where ballet shoes were made, to a mechanic who specialised in restoring vintage cars.

“When we looked at this location we knew we could add to the gentrification of the suburb in a positive way,” says Berry.

Each of the townhouses at the Gentry will have their own private rooftop garden with an outdoor barbecue and theatre.Each of the townhouses at the Gentry will have their own private rooftop garden with an outdoor barbecue and theatre. Photo: Thirdi Group

“Alexandria is moving away from that industrial nothingness wasteland into an area where there is an eclectic mix of mixed use developments, cafes, and retail all spread out across the suburb.”

Thirdi has engaged the architects at SJB to convert the heritage warehouses with sawtooth facades into a luxury collection of terraces, each with their own private rooftop garden with an outdoor barbecue and theatre.

“We are nodding to the gentrification of the suburb in a positive way,” Berry explains. “It’s about taking it from old to new. When we looked at this building and its heritage and saw its raw beauty it was like looking at a blank canvas.

“People who are buying into these areas don’t want to be part of a master-planned community with no soul. They want character and history. The 37 Torrens-titled townhouses are located on a 3300-square-metre plot in Alexandria that embraces the area’s light industrial history.”