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.”
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.”
When a Pair of Graffiti Artists Vandalised One of Thirdi Group’s Sites, Co-Founder Luke Berry Hunted Them Down
10th April, 2019
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.
‘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.
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.
“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.
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
As part of the premier development WestEnd Precinct by Thirdi Group, Eaton on Union achieves stunning views as a result of its prime position near Newcastle Harbour.
There’s no place quite like Newcastle’s Wickham. Once an unknown area, the suburb is fast becoming one of the most liveable and connected cultural hubs, and now potential buyers have an opportunity to secure a new home there with the introduction of Eaton on Union. As part of the premier development, WestEnd Precinct by Thirdi Group, Eaton on Union achieves stunning views as a result of its prime position near Newcastle Harbour.
The 1, 2 and 3 bedroom homes have been thoughtfully crafted to experience an abundance of natural light, as well as cross-ventilation. Significant thought was put into seamlessly connecting the outdoor and indoor living spaces to maximise the sights of Newcastle. This is achieved through the inclusion of floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors and windows. Each residence has been enhanced by the inclusion of a home automation system. Residents can operate blinds, lights, heating and cooling, as well as video intercom— all from a mobile or tablet.
The stunning and sleek living areas flow into sleek and sophisticated kitchens. Here, residents can enjoy cooking up feasts in an elegant environment featuring streamlined stainless steel appliances and stone bench tops.
Dine al fresco on the private balcony or head upstairs to the shared outdoor garden — the built-in kitchenette and barbecue facilities are perfect for hosting an evening dinner party as the sunsets over the water.
Locals can be found strolling along the Honeysuckle Foreshore and enjoying the sights. Slightly further away, the Newcastle Marina is home to an array of cafés, restaurants and bars set against the backdrop of fishing trawlers.
Gastropub Honeysuckle Hotel offers a range of modern Australian meals, or head to Meet where they serve Australian meats in an array of international styles. For an after dinner aperitif, head to The Landing Bar and Kitchen or The Queens Wharf Hotel and enjoy the sound of the water in the background.
There is an abundance of schools to choose from. St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton Public School, Merewether High School and Hunter School of the Performing Arts are all within walking distance of the project’s doorstep. And just a short drive further in Newcastle, choose from Newcastle High School, Hamilton South Public School, and Newcastle Grammar School.
Located just minutes from Hunter Street Mall and the University of Newcastle CBD campus,Eaton on Union is surrounded by easily accessible transport. With the train and light rail, and buses at the doorstep, residents are readily connected to daily necessities.
Harbour views and high-end interiors at Stella on Hannel
Comprising two residential towers offering a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, Stella on Hannell is the latest addition to Thirdi Group’s WestEnd Precinct in Wickham.
With a $73 million transport interchange underway, new arts and entertainment hubs popping up, and proximity to world-class beaches, it’s no wonder the spotlight’s on Wickham. And WestEnd’s residences are in the best position to fully take advantage of the area’s ongoing revitalisation.
Designed by Luke Mahaffey, lead architect from LJM Architecture, Stella on Hannell’s collection of homes has been oriented to achieve some of the best views of Newcastle Harbour and city centre.
The open-plan living room has been enhanced by the most cutting-edge smart home gadgets. Sync with the home automation system to enable control of the lights and heating/cooling, turn up the volume on the TV, open the blinds, see who visits when no one’s home — all from a hand-held device.
Inside, every detail has been carefully thought out to ensure residents enjoy a comfortable and luxe lifestyle. In the kitchen, every appliance has been chosen for superior quality and includes internationally renowned brands. The light is soft and welcoming, curating a stylish and creative environment for the domestic chef.
The sophisticated bathroom was formed with a clever mix of style and minimalism. Elegant lighting, refined fixtures, and beautiful tiling combine to create a practical yet indulgent atmosphere as residents get ready in the morning.
All Stella on Hannell residents have access to the shared rooftop gardens. With multiple seating areas and pergola-style awnings, this is the perfect space to host drinks with friends and family against the backdrop of the harbour.
The thriving city centre of Wickham is just minutes from the doorstep. Here, locals can be found enjoying brunch at Bank Corner Espresso bar or else sipping a cocktail at The Happy Wombat.
The expansive green grounds at Hawkins Oval are great for kicking the footy around. Slightly further away, Islington Park runs along Styx Creek and has a secure off-leash dog park area perfect for a Sunday afternoon with furry friends.
It is just a short drive to Hunter Wetlands National Park, a wildlife sanctuary teeming with over 200 species of birds, and diverse ecosystems. Walk and explore, fish, picnic, and birdwatch — it’s not hard to see why it’s a local favourite.
Stella on Hannell is located within walking distance of St Francis Xavier’s College and Hamilton Public School, and a short drive from Newcastle East Public School, Newcastle High School and Newcastle Grammar School.
Thirdi Group’s innovative plans for smart home automation
08th April, 2019
When you hear ‘smart home automation’ you might think of Google’s Alexa or Amazon’s Echo. You might think it means better security for your home, streamlining processes like turning on your lights and controlling the room temperature. If you’re looking forward to a more automated lifestyle, developers are now building residences with in-built smart home automation.
One such developer is Thirdi Group, a successful property development and investment company in Sydney. It always has its proverbial finger on the pulse, and as a result of the growing demand for high-tech homes, it has released new off the plan apartment projects with special smart home automation.
The Torrens-Titled townhouses comprising The Gentry in Alexandria will be equipped with the Environexus home automation ecosystem, in conjunction with Google home and Tesla Powerwalls. Here, you can control everything from energy consumption and lighting to air conditioning and security at the touch of either your personal mobile or the iPad which comes with the home.
The developer has taken this luxury inclusion one step further in its timeless inner-city development, Paragon of Pyrmont. Designed by renowned architects SJB, each residence features the smart home automation and Tesla Powerwalls found in The Gentry in a luxury open plan layout with rooftop terraces and barbecue facilities.
Luke Berry, Director of Sales and Marketing at Thirdi Group paints us a picture of what life could be like when you live here.
“Imagine this. You drive up your street and your home recognises your car is arriving, so it automatically opens the garage door, turns the light on and sends your private lift to meet you.
“You plug your car into the wall to recharge for tomorrow, all using ‘off-peak’ power that your TESLA Powerwall secured for you while you were sleeping.
“The home automation system has researched the day’s weather (a hot one, 36 degrees) so earlier in the day, it arranged for your blinds to be lowered and scheduled the aircon to turn on at 1 pm. By the time you walk through the door, your home is a comfortable 21 degrees.
“As you enter your living room, you ask Paragon’s voice-activated home automation to turn on your TV and load the best recipes for lamb chops. You have guests arriving later in the evening.
“Your home automation finds a recipe and you ask it to send the list of ingredients directly to your Woolworths online account, to be delivered in time to cook on your private rooftop barbecue.”
It’s hard to believe you can live such a streamlined digital lifestyle as Luke describes, right?
“I know, but that’s the reality of the smart home automation we have planned for Paragon of Pyrmont,” Luke laughs. “And I’m bursting with the excitement of being part of its creation.”
2019 Sydney apartment outlook with Thirdi
07th April, 2019
With the property market back in full swing after the usual January slowdown, we spoke to Luke Berry, director of sales and marketing at one of Sydney’s leading property developers, Thirdi, for his learnings from the past year and plans for the future.
In 2018 Thirdi settled more than 200 properties across Sydney and Newcastle and launched two new large apartment projects that sold more than 80 per cent off the plan, so Berry was rightly positive. “While 2018 was a tougher year, it’s not all doom and gloom,” he says. “It reminded us that investing in property needs to be done with a long-term view and not based on a 24-hour news cycle.”
Berry sees the current market as a positive one for buyers, particularly regarding securing an apartment that’s exactly how they want it. “The current market is your ‘blank canvas’ opportunity, where you have developers not only flexible on price but even on what fixtures and fittings go into your home,” he says. “You’d be surprised what we developers can do to help buyers create their dream home, often adding more value long-term than a small discount at the contract exchange.”
While securing finance might currently be the biggest challenge for buyers, Berry suggests that staying true to a bigger-picture property plan will ensure you don’t miss out. “My recommendation is that if buyers find a property they love and have a view on the market beyond 2019/2020, then secure it off the plan sooner rather than later.”
He adds, “I’m not suggesting any buyer should make a rash decision and not negotiate on price. I believe the window of getting a great deal will close quicker than the market thinks, and many people will miss out on creating their dream home with a developer.”
If you can’t get a discount, try asking for an upgrade. “Create your dream kitchen, ask for the best appliance package,” Berry says. “Consumers need to have the confidence to ask the question. Be rational and fair and both you and the developer will get a great outcome. If you know your bank will support you, don’t hesitate.”
What does Berry recommend buyers look for when choosing a developer? Primarily, innovation and a well-chosen team. “We never compromise on partners and consultants and choose only the very best in each sector to work with,” he says. “We combine this with a willingness to embrace new technologies that help us design, deliver and build our projects in ways never seen before for the benefits of our clients.”
This is evident in the combination of home automation and smart sustainability which feature heavily in Thirdi’s upcoming projects.
“At our Paragon of Pyrmont (as shown above) project, the home automation will start before you even arrive home,” Berry says. “Our buildings will recognise you are on your way and send a message confirming you would like to get the home ready for arrival.”
All of Thirdi’s current projects will have access to home automation packages and will either have private energy storage (by way of a Tesla battery in the garages) or the building will have been designed with a dedicated energy storage area in the basement ready for battery installation in the future.
“We have major plans for these batteries to feature as a ‘green and clean’ energy offering and hope this will not only help the environment but also significantly reduce the cost of living for our residents,” Berry says.
His final word on purchasing an apartment is a practical one: “Do your research and do your numbers. I can’t speak for other developers but the last thing any of us want is settlement issues when the property is completed. Buy something you can afford and communicate regularly with your developer if there are any issues before settlement.”
A Changing Newcastle Welcomes its Latest Project
06th June, 2018
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.
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.
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.