Q&A: Michael Elliott, Evergrande


Showing promise from the young and influential age of 15, developer Michael Elliott created his first presentation on property development and presented it to the bank. From here, Elliott’s mind for property and investment saw him launch into opportunities head first, learning as he went along.

Having always worked for himself and with a number of successes, and some failures behind him, Elliott brings all he has learnt to his latest venture, Evergrande. With Evergrande, he creates projects of distinction, encompassing high quality locations, design, materials and delivery.

Elliott’s goal has always been to establish a brand that is an extension of his underlying beliefs; trust, collaboration and experience have become pillars of everything he does. A family man, Elliott lives with his physiotherapist wife, Lauren and their children in Williamstown.

How did you enter the property industry?
When I was 15 years old, my older brother took me to a local presentation on investment properties. It didn’t take long to realise that raising finance, backed by my local newspaper round, was going to be difficult. Family and friends became mentors and provided inspiration from their own mixture of successes, difficulties and failures. Overall, I realised it was a practical and proven way to provide for myself and my family.
What were some of the challenges you faced?
Being young and brimming with self-belief, I bought a heritage-listed project and ran my first planning application from scratch. I took out strip ads for investor capital and quickly met ASIC and audits.

There’s also the challenge of establishing a track record and maintaining the confidence of supporters. My goal has always been to establish a brand that is an extension of my underlying belief. Trust, collaboration and experience have become pillars of everything I do.
What’s your proudest property achievement?
I pride myself on being dedicated to the smallest and most humble transactions in all aspects of the property business. This has allowed me to develop the skills as an individual – which have been layered with years of experience – that have led to the considered decisions made today at Evergrande.
On the Evergrande website, there is a section that talks about the “collaborative process”, can you tell us more about this?
The most successful and well-delivered outcomes are from a simple vision that is easily conveyed. The team is a partnership of disciplines that turn the vision into reality. The skill is that the team has the freedom to use their talent, without me micro-managing the process. Everyone who nurtures the vision turns it into so much more than the seed that the original vision planted. It is a team process and no one person could take credit for the whole.

Sandown Street Brighton ExteriorWhat is your design process?
For Evergrande, it is the art of design combined with cutting edge innovation and luxury. Using a wealth of team experience, with progressing thinking, leads to a point of precision that is the product that we want to deliver.
Another theme on the website was “the epitome of luxury” – What are you doing within the business to achieve this?
It is not one decision that leads to luxury. It is every decision within the business. Being skilled and well considered in everything we do enables us to deliver luxury.
Can you tell us about the cutting edge design and innovative thinking that has gone into your Brighton project, Sandown St?

Hassell and Jack Merlo Design inspired the creation of fluid and open spaces without thresholds, which interconnect with natural bluestone tiles hand laid on floors inside and out. We created expansive indoor and outdoor living spaces, surrounded by enclosed courtyards with vertical gardens that increase the sense of green surrounds.

The hand crafted American white oak island benches float from the kitchen bar, and the black granite benchtops create a sense of theatre and are accented by black composite sinks and Astra Walker tapware that integrates with Miele appliances.

A cantilevered desk within a full height watergum frame connects the central study space, and the bathrooms have hand made Corian vanities and free standing Agape baths. The joinery is completed in watergum veneer and three metre ceilings create an abundance of light and space.
What direction do you see the property market going in over the next two years?
Within Melbourne, different segments of living styles may become clearly defined as the population grows. An increase in CBD apartment living will create an attractiveness to be near all the various retail, restaurants and exciting choices that will grow with it, and in contrast an appreciation for space and a place to retreat and relax.

Sandown Street Brighton InteriorWhat do you do for fun?
Family and friends never cease to amaze me with all the wonderful things we are able to share. It is impossible not have fun around them.
Favourite travel destination?
Nothing feels better than warm sunshine on your skin at the beach.
Favourite restaurant?
The deck at home with the BBQ and fresh produce from the veggie patch. I think all the reality cooking shows have created a culture shift to enjoying beautiful meals shared at home.
What book are you reading at the moment?

Re-reading Lian Hearns’ Across the Nightingale Floor and about to begin a recommendation from a friend by author Paulo Coelho.
Where do you see Evergrande in 10 years?
On an exciting journey two-fifths of the way through our 25-year plan. If I revealed too much, our competitors would know the market trend to follow.

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