Mirvac Development Director, Paolo Razza, has been in the property industry for over 20 years. He has worked on various large-scale developments, and in partnership with UrbanGrowth NSW is currently bringing to life one of Sydney’s major urban transformations, Green Square Town Centre.
RELATED: Construction Begins On $8bn Green Square Project
What sparked your interest in development?
My family is in the field of construction, so I was exposed to the elements of development from an early age. I then went on to study architecture at university.
My passion for design and construction led me to a career in which both components are integrated and complement each other to achieve results.
What drives you in your career?
It’s a creative profession because essentially it is about producing something that previously wasn’t there. Development is rather pragmatic and often requires the skill to solve complex issues, for example infrastructure and buildability.
What drives me is the ambition to develop tangible spaces that impact people’s lives. It is both exciting and rewarding to be able to deliver extraordinary places for people to live, work or socialise.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Juggling outcomes. There are many elements involved in producing a large-scale development, particularly if the site has legacy and technical issues that need to be resolved. Considerations range from planning controls, regulations, public and private stakeholders and the future population of the site.
Developing a desirable place that incorporates innovative design and urban transformation, while balancing varied criteria and ensuring the project is financially sustainable, makes for a challenging job.
What project are you most proud of and why?
I like the challenge of large multi-staged and urban transformation projects.
I worked on a mixed-use development called Rhodes Waterside, which includes a shopping centre and over 2,000 apartments.
To transform a blank piece of land that required remediation to a mixed-use development of retail, commercial and residential is something I am proud to have been a part of.
We’re now working with UrbanGrowth NSW on the Green Square Town Centre development, which is an extremely exciting project. It’s a complex location and large-scale urban transformation which, when completed, will become a new global village for Sydney. I am now doing it again in a more complex location and on a larger scale at Green Square.
Mirvac's Ovo at Green Square
Apart from those by Mirvac, what do you think is an example of the best project in the world at the moment?
The revitalisation of The High Line in New York is definitely a watershed development project that I watched closely. It’s a project that has transformed a forgotten and unused space to a place that has become embedded in the community’s way of life.
The project pays homage to the history of the site as a railroad, reflecting its use through heritage restoration and conversion to a public landscape. At Mirvac we’re proud to have developed projects using similar concepts, such as the Harold Park Tram Sheds.
Where do you think the property development industry will be five years from now?
As an industry, I see the bar of architectural and urban design continuing to rise. Developments are becoming increasingly sophisticated and innovative, and I think this will continue as we become more aware of the necessity to incorporate sustainability in what we are doing. We’re constantly pushing the boundaries of place making and development principles, I see the Australian market really pioneering world-class cities, suburbs and communities.
What is the most pressing policy issue facing your industry?
I’ve got a watching brief on how the new SEPP 65 requirements will be applied across different projects. Having consistency and appreciation of how a blanket policy, like SEPP 65, impacts a range of different sites and developments will be interesting.
More broadly, how the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) changes play out in the residential market. If the changes allow for greater stability in the market and are applied consistently then I think it will have a positive effect on the market.
What or whom have you learned the most from?
During my experiences, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the country’s best urban design thinkers, builders and managers. I’m continually learning through the collaboration process with my peers, through planning for large-scale developments, such as Green Square, you gain insight into best-practice processes across a range of industries, which truly gives you a great appreciation and ability to deliver successful outcomes.