5 Minutes With Multipart Property's Matthew Zappia


Multipart Property Group is an Australian residential development firm whilst also acting as an investment specialist company. Multipart Property focuses on residential developments along the East Coast of Australia with a brief of delivering inspiring developments that will continue to impress in decades to come. The company's directors and owners are Matthew Zappia and Sebastian Kesby.

We spent some time with Matthew to learn about the company and their philosophies.

As a young developer you have seemed to be able to find unique development sites off market, how have you approached this as a strategy?

Multipart Property has adopted an approach where we contact and deal with land owners directly. This is done for a number of reasons; the main reason, eliminating your competition. Purchasing on market through a campaign can apply un-wanted pressure and competition. This process also gives us clearer communication and we have found in the past that although a person/agent in the middle can assist with mediating and negotiating, more often than not we have had issues with miscommunication.

We identify certain locations and regions which require our town planning and architecture to think outside the square. Generally the sites we target will have some form of restrictions which we simply need to overcome with correct planning and persistence. This can usually result in purchasing under market value. Many other developers might shy away from sites with multiple issues, we try to work strategically with our team/consultants to plan around these restrictions and resolve them.

The strategy of purchasing off market is purely a numbers game. The art of purchasing off market is quite unique as the approach needs to be tailored to each specific land owner who generally have not thought about selling - the idea of selling is purely coming from Multipart Property. The fact most vendors we deal will have not thought about selling is one of the many hurdles we face in the bulk of our acquisitions.

How did you get your start in the property world?

At the age of 18, I acquired my first investment property. The love for the property industry grew from there. Purchasing passive investments was a great starting point to understanding the financial position property can offer and the leverage it can provide.

Passive investment was exciting, but I always knew I wanted more, the development side of property was always of interest to me, and in late 2011 I purchased my first raw development site. By purchasing a raw site it forced me to take the bull by the horns and begin the DA process, from hiring the architect and planner and throughout the process controlling the consultants. This experience was a lesson which I believe changed my vision and understanding of property.

To date Multipart Property has now secured seven sites in its 24 months of establishment, all at various construction phases and DA stages. Our vision has expanded to delivering high end quality developments, within blue chip positions of the Sydney basin.  Check out our most recent development

The Warehouse, Waterloo, which is now under construction.

One of Multipart Property's current projects, The Warehouse at Waterloo, Sydney.[/caption]

What advice would you give other young developers?

Knowledge is key. Understanding your industry and further educating yourself can only improve your position. Throughout Sebastian and my careers, we have developed a habit of surrounding ourselves with professionals that have driven us to go further and always improve our position.

One factor that was brought to our attention at a young age by our mentor and broker, Brett Abikhair, was always to listen and educate ourselves. Leveraging off surrounding contacts' knowledge and networks has become second nature to us and our team. This is something we believe can be adopted in all industries and we believe is a tool to success for all young entrepreneurs.

Taking risks is a day to day occurrence for our firm and industry. Being able to handle stress and pressure is always a key factor for young developers.

Is there anything that you wish you had learnt earlier in your development career?

I must admit, I learn something new everyday. I am constantly finding new and better ways to do things and improve processes. It has taken some time to build a strong team around us. Our firm is constantly leveraging off different people's knowledge and expertise for all aspects of development, including town planners, architects, agents, builders, and financiers. I wish I had found the current professionals I use earlier which we draw off so much, however this takes time, trial and error to find and learn what team will work best specifically for you and your business.

Where do you think the development industry will be five years from now? Or more specifically the Sydney market?

I believe the development industry will continue to become more focused on sustainable development and green building. The industry will have a stronger focus on building structures and processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient.

It's difficult to accurately predict where the Sydney market will be in five years. There are many factors and influences that will determine a market including but not limited to; supply/demand, capital and its availability, interest rates, consumer sentiment, affordability. Currently we are seeing a squeeze on credit even though rates remain low, and affordability is at an all time low. These two factors alone are evidently taking the heat out of the unprecedented growth and activity in the Sydney market.

Multipart Property's owners and directors Matthew Zappia (left) and Sebastian Kesby focus on residential developments along the East Coast of Australia with a brief of delivering inspiring developments that will continue to impress in decades to come.[/caption]

What has been your career highlight?

The career highlight to date was the purchase and on sell of our site in Roseville. This by far was our largest purchase with a land value of $30 million. We identified a particular vacant block with every restriction you could imagine. We secured the site through our sheer persistence and haggling with the land owner. We saw great value in this particular site and we were able to secure it well under market value.

Eight weeks from securing the site we on sold for a 20% up lift, which in the development world is quite unconventional in such a short period of time. This particular deal required our firm and team to think outside the box, from raising the capital to securing the property and obtaining the correct planning advice to overcome the restrictions.

What or whom have you learned the most from?

Our mentor, who funny enough is not property focused, Brett Abikhair from The Selector Group. He has been there from day one of our transition from being a back end broker through to establishing Multipart Property. The guidance he has given us is invaluable.
Having Brett teach me the financial position and understanding of leverage has given me the edge I feel that has guided me to success in a very competitive industry.

What developments around the world inspire you and why?

A strong example of an inspirational development would be 1 Bligh Street, Sydney. 1 Bligh has received a number of awards including a 6 Star Green Star – Office Design, the highest Green Star rating score. This form of development is inspiring as it offers a premium grade sustainable office space that has set the benchmark in innovation and environmental design. Many of the building's features are a first in the Australian marketplace. Some of the sustainable features include: recycled rain water, black water recycling, an innovative tri-generation system for energy that uses gas and solar energy to generate cooling, heating and electricity, as well as a central atrium allowing a flow of fresh air and a sense of openness.

What policy changes would you like to see from government that affect your industry and why?

I would like to see a national planning regime with more of an emphasis on sustainable design practices, particularly in capital cities. A national planing policy focusing on sustainable building would improve and create further environmental, economic and social benefits.

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