Chris Vitale is a director of Brisbane-based property development company,
He has over 15 years experience in residential property development.
With an emphasis on design, Pointcorp is known for delivering luxury developments in inner-Brisbane and North Queensland.
How did you get into the property development industry?
Pointcorp did its first development about 12 years ago back in 2002. The company is made up to two directors and two shareholders, myself and Paul Gedoun are the directors, we have known each other for 21 years. He was a builder and I was in the finance industry and we got together and we did our first development and it evolved from there. We built four townhouses, sold them quickly and it went really well. Now, Pointcorp has a focus on luxury Brisbane inner-city developments.
You started developing projects in North Queensland and worked your way down to Brisbane, tell us about that.
We still have projects in Townsville and Mackay and obviously Brisbane. Although we have moved down here, we still have a presence up there. I moved to Brisbane and our first development here was in 2007. We have continued to develop in Townsville and Mackay but the market isn’t as strong there. For every one property we sell in Townsville, we would sell 20 in Brisbane. We understood the depth of the market we wanted, which was luxury, and in those regional centres its quite volatile. It was a natural progression moving to Brisbane, we wanted to get into a market that had more depth.
How important is your background in finance and Paul's background in building at giving Pointcorp a balanced outlook?
We have set portfolios in the business; he looks after a lot of planning, construction, delivery and design works. I look after the site acquisition, marketing, sales, debt and finance. We don’t cross over and that creates a harmonious business relationship.
What was the focus on targeting the luxury market in Brisbane?
The thinking behind it was that we believed the market was there but it just wasn’t being catered for. It was neglected due to a by-product of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Affordable product was all that was being developed between 2007 until now. For us it’s all about site selection, finding an iconic location, and I guess our most recent project, The Highgate, represents that. The product starts at $1.5 million and there hasn’t been a project like that hasn’t been like that since the GFC.
Tell us about The Highgate.
There was an approved development application that was lodged in 2004 and that was lodged by the Raptis Group. It was a luxury building of 42 apartments, it was approved in 2007 and then it was benched due to market conditions. It never changed hands and it went to sleep. We became aware of the site and we made an off market offer to the vendor.
The same owner had owned the site since 1923. We felt we needed to deliver something Brisbane had never seen before. That was approved quickly and we put together our team. The target markets are empty nesters, downsizing or young professionals.
I wanted our buyers to feel like they were staying in the presidential suite of a 5-star hotel, so we engaged interior designer, Blainey North. Obviously the kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the building. When we thought about the build we thought a chef would be the best person to design a kitchen, s we went after Neil Perry and asked him to design the kitchens.
He signed an exclusive agreement with us for our next three projects and he had just bought out a new appliance range. The appliance range is designed by him and is built in the Omega factory. All of the products are commercial grade but for private use.
The other thing we thought about was the façade - so we employed Cottee Parker Architects. We wanted it to be iconic. It will be made from glass reinforced concrete.
The last thing we had to decide on was the landscaping. The building itself takes up about only 20 per cent of the site so we had a lot to consider.
Related Article: Perry And North Come Together For Pointcorp’s The Highgate
How are you launching The Highgate?
We market the projects ourselves and we have been on an expressions of interest campaign for the last four weeks. From that we have generated a significant number of enquiries. We built a sales display, there are two houses that we are retaining on the site, one of which will become our display suite. It’s an amazing space.
We will then open the display suite an invitation only basis. We invite all the people that have placed holding deposits down and they’ll come up to the display suite.
How does Pointcorp finance its projects?
We put in the equity. Some of the projects we do ourselves, some of the projects will bring in partners. It depends on what project is and it also depends on the terms of the site acquisition.
What's next for Pointcorp?
We have two sites in New Farm that we want to replicate what we are doing at The Highgate. One of them is on the river and the other is on an iconic street.
Our acquisition strategy is all about the best site you can buy. There are a lot on the market but very few are up to our standard. We are looking for riverfront and for iconic locations. I think for now we will stay in Brisbane, we love the city and we love to build our brand as the cities number one developer.
Tell us about the Pointcorp team.
We have about 20 staff. We have an internal project management division and internal project marketing division and then we have the management staff. We have made an acquisition for the riverside corporate park in West End, that’s where our headquarters is located. We are a pretty young team and we try to keep it as a fun place to work. As we complete projects, we stay attached to them long term by staying on as the caretaker and the onsite manager. Every project we do we employ on site managers for the building.
Where do you seek your design inspiration?
We have someone in our office in the marketing division looking at facades across the world. They look at concepts of buildings all around the world and in areas that new architectural design is happening. We absolutely love Swedish and Danish style of architecture. We are very fastidious with our architecture.
What are you reading at the moment?
I read the newspapers everyday.
Where is your favorite place to travel?
New York or Italy - Sicily specifically.
Where is your favourite restaurant?
Right at the moment, it's Madame Wu in Brisbane.