In profile: Allens real estate partner Alister Fitzgerald

In profile: Allens real estate partner Alister Fitzgerald
In profile: Allens real estate partner Alister Fitzgerald

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Allens partner Alister Fitzgerald has been involved in a wide range of transactions since joining Allens, with recent career highlights including advising Woolworths Limited on the real estate aspects of the establishment of the $1.5 billion Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group; and advising the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore on the sale of 215 Adelaide Street, Brisbane, for $135 million.

He says a good understanding of the market and client need are key to success in the industry.

alisterfitzgeraldAgent: Alister Fitzgerald
Position: Partner
Company: Allens
Office location: Brisbane

How long have you been in the industry?

Over 13 years now, working in Brisbane, Sydney, Hong Kong and Auckland, and then back to Brisbane.  This has included time in-house with Goodman Group and in private practice, with the last 3 years at Allens in Brisbane - a great final destination.  I've had the opportunity to see the highs and lows of the property cycle.

What’s happening in the area you specialise in?

There are some interesting market dynamics at play.  Demand for institutional grade assets is very strong, yet tenant demand is not as strong as it has been.  I am also seeing some established players start to look for growth in peripheral asset classes and locations.  These factors all present an interesting challenge for the clients I advise.

Describe the most interesting property deal you have been involved in?

The most interesting deals for me are those that have many moving parts and where client engagement is strong.  Last year, I was part of the Allens team advising Woolworths on the spin-off of $1.5b in shopping centre assets into the newly formed Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group.  A huge challenge, but with a very focused and determined client and broader consultant support team, and working with a large and dedicated team at Allens across many jurisdictions and practice areas.  The transaction was successfully executed and it was for me, personally, a very rewarding experience.

What are the ingredients to being successful in your job?

A good understanding of the market and client need.  A strong work ethic, an ability to manage teams and an ability to think laterally.  And perhaps most importantly, a pretty good sense of humour that you share with those around you - helps put things in perspective and to think calmly when you need to the most.

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy a well-executed transaction - efficient, with a sensible managing of risks, and a positive commercial outcome for the client.  I also enjoy engaging with and learning from others - including clients, other consultants, my team members and my fellow partners.  I have a genuine interest in the real estate industry and like to have a working understanding the non-legal aspects of it.  This helps me do what I do more effectively.

Where would invest a spare $750,000?

The mortgage would need to go first, but after that I would be looking at (probably jointly with other investors) commercial assets in city fringe locations in Brisbane, in the recognised in-fill corridors, with a strong tenant covenant and solid holding income for the medium term.

Which football team do you support?

Broncos and Reds, but to be honest I'd get a bigger buzz seeing Cadel Evans do well in this year's Tour.

What’s your favourite app or techno gadget?

I use my iPad a lot, and find on work trips and in meetings it is very useful, and I get the Financial Review on it which keeps me up to date.  My favourite app is probably Strava on my iPhone, which tells me just how slowly I ride up the large hill near my home, compared to the average punter.

How do you use social media?

I do enjoy direct personal interaction so have never found social media as a viable substitute for that.  That said, I get a reasonable amount of benefit from LinkedIn from a networking perspective.  I use Twitter now and again, but if I am being honest I haven't got to the point of properly understanding its full potential - that's on the to-do list.  Facebook has never appealed greatly to me - I do have an account, but most things personal to me I only want to share with a small number of people, not including Mr Zuckerberg.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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