Nicholas Smedley is the Managing Director of Steller, a Melbourne-based property firm that specialises in medium density housing in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
He has a background in corporate finance over a range of sectors in both Australia and Hong Kong, where he specialised in deal management, financial modelling and deal negotiation. Prior to starting Steller 10 years ago, Nicholas was with KPMG and UBS Investment Bank.
He started Steller to offer a fully integrated property development service with team building, construction, development and sales. As a result of this integrated model, Steller provides time-efficient project delivery at a lower cost. At 32 years of age, Nicholas already has over 40 developments in his portfolio despite being in the industry for only 10 years, and has a pipeline of almost 10 more projects set to drop over the next 12 months.
In addition to this, Nicholas is also the President and Founder of the Young Members Association for Haven, with Steller investing in and set to deliver numerous NRAS properties across Victoria to provide housing to the disadvantaged.
What sparked your interest in property development?
Being able to deliver a tangible product that is under my control and is of value to the public really inspired me to pursue a career in property, as well as being able to look back in 10 years and still see the product standing.
What drives you - has there been someone or something that has inspired your career?
Richard Branson is a great source of inspiration to me - the way he runs things and his belief in surrounding himself with the best people available really inspired me to want to create my own trusted brand. Virgin is a brand that is applicable to almost anything - whether it be airlines, insurance, telecommunications and Richard has been the man behind driving all that and making it possible to have the brand be what it is today.
What is the highlight of your job?
Handing over the keys to purchasers is the most satisfying element of the process.
24-26 Mavho Street, Bentleigh[/caption]
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Things constantly change, so we have to learn to adapt to it. It's also difficult to manage a business that is growing as rapidly as Steller is.
Apart from those by Steller, what do you think are the three best projects in the world at the moment?1. Candy and Candy, Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, London2. Capital Grand in South Yarra3. The World and The Palm in Dubai
Where do you think the property development industry will be five years from now?
There will be an increase in vertical living for the industry and the key shift will be increased density living in key strategic areas.
What is the most pressing policy issue facing your industry?
Consistency with planning outcomes is the biggest concern at the moment.
477-479 Highett Road, Highett[/caption]
Who have you learned the most from?
My father played the biggest influence in my learnings, guiding me through problems and challenging the status quo.
What is a website or blog that you visit often?
AFR and The Urban Developer.
What are three books that have either influenced you professionally or personally?
The Virgin Way: How to Listen, Learn, Laugh and LeadFreakonomicsWar of Art