Anyone who has visited Melbourne Airport would have noticed that massive glass structure resembling a rolled up broadsheet newspaper along the Tullamarine Freeway which in itself has become a Melbourne Iconic Structure sitting in front of the equally Iconic "Architectural Award" winning Age building.
The "Age building" which was Fairfax's flagship print centre was opened in 2003 to produce all of their printed mast heads and subsidiary papers which it did for several years until it was announced in 2012 that Fairfax planned to close both the Tullamarine and NSW Chullora print centres. They stated that "Both sites were commissioned when almost all of Metro Media's content was delivered through printed newspaper." The print centre cost $220 million and housed bespoke printing presses imported from Europe.
How, then, do you become the lucky new owner of such an iconic property?
Right place, right time? Or is there more to it...
Real estate agent, Frank Vinci, director of Vinci Carbone Property who acts for a number of private clients as both an agent and a buyer's advocate this time put on his buyer's advocate hat and acted for the Zagame Automotive Group which is headed by Bobby Zagame in purchasing the site in late 2015 for a cool $16m which Vinci states represents just over land value.
With 30 years experience in the real estate industry he states that his experience is what allowed him to identify the enormous value that the property represented to a buyer which he then backed a buyer into. Sometimes buyer's advocates are given quite specific instructions on where and what their clients want to buy whilst other times deals come about by the advocate thinking laterally and matching a buyer to a property that they would never have dreamt about owning. Keeping an ear to the ground is paramount when identifying opportunities for buyers, acting in the buyer's advocacy role.
Buyers engage advocates for a number of reasons including a lack of property expertise and a lack of time. Engaging an expert to carry out all the preliminary leg work saves the buyer a lot of potential wastage. Buyer's advocates sometime engage other consultants which are necessary in the due diligence process. Vinci says that in this instance "The Age purchase included engineers, fit out consultants and even tax experts advising on certain aspects of owning the property such as potential depreciation write-offs. This saved the Zagame Automotive Group a great deal of time as all the homework was expedited through the use of our consultants."
When engaging an advocate it is imperative for the buyer to qualify the advocate and their track record. "Anyone can purport to be a buyer's advocate or advisor but not everyone can do it well and quite often we come across parties who are out there representing buyers without enough property knowledge, experience, and in buying and selling property." Vinci recollects that the most exciting buyer's advocacy job he did was back in 1995 when he acted for a client in buying 12 properties on the corner of King St and La Trobe Street, Melbourne. "In this case we identified the opportunity as one that would be great for a speculator. We ended up buying the property for $4,300,000 from a property fund which had spent years amalgamating the group of properties for a total cost of over $40,000,000. We went from acting as buyer's advocates to then acting as agents in that we re-sold the 12 properties individually for about $6,500,000 within about 2 months of buying the properties."
Having an eye for property and being able to form a gut feel for value all comes from experience. Like anything you should always engage those with the long term runs on the board.