Luke Hartman joined the newly-founded Metro Property Development in 2010, becoming a business partner to his former bosses David Devine and Ken Woodley.
Previously, he had been the National General Manager Housing and Land for the publicly-listed Devine Limited where he was responsible for all land acquisitions, sub-divisions, sales and marketing for the company’s operations throughout Australia amounting to more than 2000 land lots each year, as well as the construction of more than 1200 houses.
He was previously a senior executive with the publicly-listed Mirvac where he worked on a range of large projects including the Olympic Village in Sydney. Luke is also a board member of UDIA Victoria.
What sparked your interest in development?
Friends of my father were developers in the 80s and I loved the idea of creating something that changed the skyline of a city.
What drives you – has there been someone or something that has inspired your career?
From very early on, I’ve been very fortune to have great mentors in my career who have continued to provide invaluable support and advice through the years. These included Bob Hamilton, CEO of Mirvac and my current business partners David Devine and Ken Woodley who I’ve worked closely with since 2003.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
The growth phase of any new business can be a challenging one. For Metro, our rapid growth into a national structure within five years is really remarkable but certainly challenging at times. We are now a business of 160 across five offices with developments right across Australia. I’m sure any developer would agree that competition for sites is another key challenge of the industry.
What is the highlight of your job?
Firstly, following a dream I’ve had from an early age is definitely a highlight of my job. Not many people get to do that, so I’m very fortunate to be able to make a living out of something I’m passionate about.
Seeing Metro grow from a start-up in 2010 to a $2.9 billion pipeline business today is something I’m very proud of. Working with an experienced and entrepreneurial team makes my job enjoyable every day, as does the development and growth of our entire team. Working with people who have the same passion and drive is exciting.
What project are you most proud of and why?
Early in my career at Mirvac, I worked on the Olympic Village project in Sydney which was a fantastic opportunity to develop my skills as a development manager. More recently with Metro, our masterplan projects of Central Village and Newstead Central. Both these projects are in key urban renewal areas of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley and Newstead, so turning a piece of land into flagship developments for people to live and enjoy is very rewarding.
Apart from those by your own company, what do you think are the three best projects in the world at the moment?
Brisbane’s new Queens Wharf Casino Precinct; Central Park, Sydney and Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Where do you think the property development industry will be in five years from now?
I’m a firm believer that the next 3-5 years present a really positive outlook for the industry. Net migration for Australia is continuing to rise as is the international student population, they all need to live somewhere and inner-city locations are key for both of these groups. The low interest rate environment, even when factoring in marginal increases and changes in lending requirements, still represents a significant opportunity for owner-occupiers and investors.
What is the most pressing policy issue facing your industry?
Affordability – it is getting more expensive to live in Australia. The role governments and industry associations play will continue to be an important factor in ensuring the dream of owning a place of residence, doesn’t become a distant memory.
What or whom have you learned the most from?
My father and business partners David Devine and Ken Woodley.