In profile: Cedar Woods' state manager Victoria and Queensland, Nathan Blackburne

In profile: Cedar Woods' state manager Victoria and Queensland, Nathan Blackburne
In profile: Cedar Woods' state manager Victoria and Queensland, Nathan Blackburne

NAME: Nathan BlackburneIn profile: Cedar Woods' state manager Victoria and Queensland, Nathan Blackburne

POSITION: State manager Victoria and Queensland

COMPANY: Cedar Woods (ASX: CWP)

OFFICE LOCATION: 484 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

How long have you been in the industry?

Over 20 years now. I graduated with a Bachelor of Business majoring in property in 1992 and have been in the property industry since then.

What’s happening in the area you specialise in? 

Development of premium residential and commercial projects is our specialty.

The market fundamentals are sound so we are getting good sales in our residential projects and good leasing outcomes for our shopping centre and commercial projects.

Several banks reduced interest rates further this week providing greater incentives for homebuyers to purchases. Five year fixed rates and variable rates are as low as they have ever been making the purchase of a property accessible to more people.

The influence of overseas developers and buyers has been dramatic for our industry. It has effectively increased the pool of buyers for apartments and house and land packages. For developments sites there is increased competition particularly if you are a CBD apartment developer, which we are not.

Describe the most interesting commercial property you have worked on?

I have worked on several great projects but I would have to say the experience with our Williams Landing development has been the most interesting and fruitful. It was a former Defence Airfield of 275 hectares that we purchased off the Commonwealth government.

This project is a major infill site that has a new freeway interchange and train station on its doorstep and we’ve created a vision for a major new town development that integrates with the train station and a series of four major neighbourhoods around it. It includes around 3,000 dwellings and has been an opportunity to create a special project.

When finished, Williams Landing will be home to around 6,000 residents and the town centre will serve as a premium commercial and retail hub for Melbourne’s west.

The project has been very financially successful, created good opportunities for innovation and enabled us to deliver a high quality outcomes that over 1,000 families are now enjoying.

What are the ingredients to being successful in your job?

There are a few things that I think are important in general management and property development. Having an eye for good people and ensuring that staff have an enjoyable work environment is the most important.

An instinct for good development sites and concepts is really important to sustained success in this industry as is undertaking acquisitions in a measured and disciplined manner. Related to this is the selection of sites that are resilient due to their location or other attributes. This is important as long term projects need to perform well in a range of market conditions.

I also work to ensure we don’t stray from the corporate strategy and that we stick to what we do best.

The quality of the portfolio we have is evidence of this.

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?

There’s lots to like about property development and general management - each day gives rise to new challenges and it’s a people focused industry so you are always interacting. Watching new developments take shape and communities flourish, as in the case of Williams Landing, is rewarding.

I also enjoy watching staff build their skills and experience base and rewarding them with new responsibilities and roles as opportunities arise.

Where would you invest a spare $750,000?

I would go with a residential purchase in a suburb that has good value growth potential and that is relatively well located in relation to a train station. The housing we deliver at Banbury Village in Footscray is a great case in point.

 If there was some change left over, I’d buy something with similar credentials in a different location.

Which football team do you support?

West Coast Eagles

What’s your favourite app or techno gadget?

I’ve recently bought a Sonos sound system for my house and am enjoying wireless control of my music and an endless music choice with Spotify.

How do you use social media?

I’m an occasional Facebook user through which I stay in touch with far away friends back in Perth or overseas. I find that people are increasingly making contact with me via LinkedIn, which is useful to either maintain contact or get some background on a new contact.

From a company perspective, we’re now using Facebook for developments including Williams Landing to help develop online communities through sharing news, updates, events and being a part of the wider discussion.

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