Car-sharing network GoGet launches in Newcastle

Newcastle Daily Telegraph

By Amy Ziniak

Australia’s largest car-sharing network, GoGet, has launched in Newcastle, with plans to build a 100 strong fleet of cars and vans.

It comes after an agreement was struck with development company, The Thirdi Group, offering apartment buyers or their tenants free GoGet driving credits.

Thirdi Group director Luke Berry said it had become clear, developers need to recognise apartment buyers were turning away from traditional requirements like parking.

“We see this type of offering right in line with Home Automation, integrated appliances and the high-end fixtures and fittings we are now offering in our apartments,” Mr Berry said.

“There’s great stories of downsizing where people are going from a house to an inner city living apartment, going from two cars to one and using GoGet as their secondary vehicle. It makes sense.”

Ten per cent of GoGet’s estimated fleet will be permanently be located in Wickham’s West End precinct.

Eight will be situated in the basement of developments, Eaton on Union and Stella on Hannell due for completion next year, while one will be at West in the precinct, the other in-front of the display suite.

Josh Brydges, locations and transport planner from GoGet said Newcastle has been on its radar for a long time.

“We’ve been watching all the changes and developments going on and looking at things council has been doing with its smart strategy, and then we formed a great partnership with Thirdi,” he said.

“The future of transport is right here in the centre of Newcastle. It’s an alternative to private car ownership.”

Thirdi Group director Luke Berry, Investor Les Parry, locations and transport planner GoGet Josh Brydges.

Not only is the partnership said to save developers millions in construction costs, overall costs for buyers are reduced, increasing affordability of apartments.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen has welcomed the news and said car share is part of Newcastle’s smart city strategy.

“Newcastle has more smart shared transport options than some capital cities,” he said.

“ Initiatives like Thirdi’s show what innovation can happen when a future-thinking developer connects with the vision of a future-thinking City.”

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GoGet joins Newcastle’s shifting transport picture

Newcastle’s love affair with the privately owned car is facing challenges due to parking scarcity and new transport options, especially in the inner-city.

In the past two years alone, park-and-ride and on-demand buses, light rail and bike sharing have entered the city’s transport mix.

Scooter-sharing platform Lime is eyeing off a trial, and several electric-vehicle charging stations have sprung up in the city.

The city’s new private bus operator, Keolis Downer, has changed the public transport network, and City of Newcastle has commissioned the company to run a driverless bus trial in the city.

Deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen said the council’s strategy was to encourage walking, cycling and public transport.

“However, I don’t believe it’s possible to live in Newcastle without access to a car, and car sharing provides that,” he said.

“You couldn’t point to any city around the world where parking is easy.

“The level of service we’ve come to expect in Newcastle is not realistic as the city densifies.”

GoGet will start in Newcastle with 10 cars based at new apartment buildings in Wickham, but it plans to expand to on-street parking in coming months.

Its pricing plans range from $49 a year to $30 a month in subscription fees plus usage charges from $6.50 an hour and 40 cents per kilometre for fuel.

The council is working on a policy which would reserve on-street parking spots for car-share vehicles.

Cr Clausen said firms such as GoGet would have to show regularly that the spaces were being used efficiently.

Greens councillor John Mackenzie said transport alternatives such as car sharing, park-and-ride and cycleways were “inevitable”, even though the city was still relatively easy to navigate by car.

“If we’re late in terms of making judgments, we’ll be blamed for lack of foresight,” he said.

“Getting on the front foot is the right thing to do.”

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

Paragon, meaning perfection, is a fitting name

for the luxury new development in Sydney’s Pyrmont.

The third collaboration between Thirdi Group and award-winning design
firm SJB, Paragon comprises just 31 apartments with three different kinds
of homes on offer.

Paragon residences

‘The Residences’ are multi-storey homes with individual rooftop gardens. Each
of these 3, 4 and 5 bedroom homes has a spiral staircase and an internal lift
from the garage through to the rooftop. Inside, double-height ceilings and
skylights maximise access to natural light and airflow.

SJB has also paid a high level of attention to detail within the interiors of
the Apartments and Penthouses. Using a blend of textures such as polished
concrete, Italian marble and golden oak timber floors, the spaces are subtly
sophisticated and elegant.

Gaggenau appliances in the kitchen ensure a streamlined cooking experience,
while a Bang & Olufsen television and surround system in the lounge room
transforms the way homeowners can entertain friends and family.

Paragon living room

The development team has partnered with Google and Environexus to deliver
the very latest in Home Automation throughout Paragon. Voice activation,
combined with the home automation app, allow residents to control everything
remotely, including air conditioning, window blinds, lights, and security.

In addition to this, Thirdi Group has embraced the latest in energy storage
and management, via an innovative partnership with Tesla. “All apartments
and terraces come with their very own Powerwall2 — allowing homes to
buy and store energy at ‘off-peak times’ to use later during peak times,”
says Luke Berry, Director of Sales and Marketing at Thirdi Group.

Paragon bathroom

“Combined with Tesla’s own Artificial Intelligence technology, the
Tesla Powerwalls will learn the habits of the resident’s behaviour
and research forecasted weather patterns to predict when the home
should lower the blinds and turn the air-conditioning on to cool
the home with off-peak energy.”

Despite the subtle differences in the homes, all residents can gather
in the project’s shared spaces. On the ground level, there is an inviting
landscaped area featuring cobblestone pathways and tranquil pockets ideal
for connecting with neighbours or nature. Upstairs, the shared rooftop
terrace features a large decking area and outdoor kitchenette, complete
with a built-in barbecue.

Paragon rooftop

Located on the corner of Miller and Mount Streets, Paragon is nestled
in the middle of Pyrmont — one of Sydney’s most prestigious dining hubs.
With world-famous cafés and restaurants scattered throughout the streets,
Pyrmont attracts food connoisseurs from all over Sydney. From the bustling
Sydney Fish Markets to five-star dining, locals are spoilt for choice when
it comes to sharing a meal with friends.

With a bus stop at the doorstep, an option of two light rail stations less
than 400 metres away and the ferry terminal nearby, Paragon has Sydney at
its fingertips.

Live a vibrant and connected lifestyle at Eaton on Union

Harbour views and high-end interiors at Stella on Hannel

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.