Hallinan Sidesteps Residential Downturn


Melbourne property developer Jonathan Hallinan has placed the finishing touches on a number of significant Australian and overseas projects.

In Melbourne, BPM, alongside construction company Maxcon, has delivered the 256-key $90 million hotel, being developed on behalf of Indian-listed Interglobe.

The Elenberg Fraser-designed hotel, which sits on the corner of Flinders Lane and King Street, recently reached partial completion and will soon open under the Quincy hotel brand.

BPM has also completed Studio Light, a $12 million creative and professional hub located at Gold Street in Collingwood. The boutique commercial development comprises flexible creative office spaces across six levels.

In line with Hallinan’s ongoing strategy to retain stock in every project he develops, a proportion of the project will be leased out rather than sold.

The completions follow BPM’s $300 million Shadow Play apartment tower in Southbank which was completed in 2018 by builder Icon.

The 46-level residential development, BPM’s most ambitious development to date, was backed by a $33.5 million mezzanine loan in September 2016 from financier Qualitas, at a time when the market was starting to slow.

Related: BPM, Consolidated Properties, Beulah After Covid-19

▲ BPM purchased the Flinders Street site for $12.35 million from Malaysian developer Asia One in 2016 and quickly set about plans for a hotel development.Image: Elenberg Fraser
▲ BPM purchased the Flinders Street site for $12.35 million from Malaysian developer Asia One in 2016 and quickly set about plans for a hotel development.Image: Elenberg Fraser

BPM managing director Jonathan Hallinan decided to scale back residential development because of growing headwinds facing the investor market, instead, focusing on hotel and commercial projects.

Hallinan said his strategy to diversify away from purely residential plays had since paid of during the pandemic with almost $100 million in projects now complete across 2020.

“In 2017, I made a deliberate decision to protect the BPM business from insurmountable pressures put on residential property developers in Australia by policy makers,” Hallinan said.

“At that time, I anticipated a bleak future for Australian developers given the number of successive regulatory changes against us.

“I turned to my passions for hotels and hospitality, as well as commercial projects, to armour BPM against the headwinds that were coming in the residential sector.”

Hallinan, has also focused on larger international transactions with prominent global investment groups and hospitality operators.

BPM’s first foray into Los Angeles has been realised through project Strings of Life, a Melbourne-style cafe based in West Hollywood, which has launched to steady patronage amid the challenges of Covid-19 restrictions.

BPM, which now has an established office in LA, has also committed to delivering a second venue—a $10 million multi-purpose bar and club in Hollywood alongside its joint venture partners, the Botanical Group.

The venue, set to be known as Grandmaster Records, will occupy the old recording studio that once produced music for the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, David Bowie and Kanye West.

Last year, Hallinan flagged potential new LA-based hotel projects while also looking to develop apartment buildings using the city’s popular build-to-rent model.

Hallinan also owns men’s suiting business—the Cloakroom—which currently has boutiques in Melbourne, Brisbane, Montreal and Tokyo as well as a health and fitness brand that focuses on yoga, pilates and meditation.

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