11 questions answered by Manager of Retail Tenancies and Interiors in Victoria, Kevin De Almeida.
Frasers Property has created a structured program for graduates to experience all four property divisions; Retail, Residential, Commercial & Industrial and Investment Property. Graduate Amy Yuan shares her experience.
As one of only four people in the first-ever Graduate Program at Frasers Property Australia I feel pretty lucky.
Surprisingly, the biggest thing I’ve learnt over the past 6 months with one of Australia’s leading property development companies doesn’t have anything to do with property. It has everything to do with tenacity.
Frasers Property has created a structured program for graduates to experience all four property divisions; Retail, Residential, Commercial & Industrial and Investment Property. Within this framework and perhaps because the program is in its infancy, I’ve found that almost any opportunity is open to me.
Having completed my first rotation in the Retail team I’ve been able to work on a world first, helping create what will be the most sustainable shopping centre ever built; Burwood Brickworks. This project will aim to secure full certification of the Living Building Challenge (LBC) which addresses sustainability in design in addition to the operation of the building and ultimately the comfort, health and well-being of its customers and occupants. How many grads can say they’ve worked on a world first?
And when I say worked I don’t mean I took the minutes in meetings. I’ve had the chance to learn from an absolute expert in this area; Stephen Choi. He and the rest of the talented team on this project have helped me understand the power of legacy over profit. They’ve taught me just as much as any academic theory in that spaces are about how you make people feel. It’s an emotional connection and it has made me so much more aware of my environment wherever I go.
My experience on the project has been a mixture of development and design with a focus on sustainability. The more I’ve asked for, the more I’ve been given. As we are in the early stages of design, the building has been continuously evolving to meet the requirements of LBC. The challenges and complexities of LBC require out of the box thinking and it’s been an incredibly exciting project to work on. I’ve personally been involved in workshops on the rooftop garden, water strategy, centralised mechanical system and red list materials, hardly your ordinary meetings.
One of my initial fears in being a graduate was a worry that people would be closed off and hard to connect with, far too busy with their own work to worry to much about me. Fortunately I have found the opposite. In development I’ve been mentored by Jack Davis, one of the Development Managers, assisting him in financial reporting, leasing strategy, town planning implications and key design decisions. One of the key lessons I’ve learnt from Jack is to focus on points of difference and uniqueness that add value to a development.
Outside of project work I created a fortnightly newsletter called the “Retail Wrap” covering retail property news and trends to keep the team informed. Other challenges have included presenting to the team on the leasing strategy template that is now being used across all retail assets. A really interesting part of the retail rotation for me was the marketing of our shopping centres, whether they are pre-launch or at stabilization. Working alongside Megan Wong I’ve been involved with the creation of marketing collateral and digital animations for Burwood Brickworks. Sharing her skills, Megan taught me how to negotiate and managing external relationships, which are valuable ingredients in the success of a leasing campaign.
Another interesting yet challenging experiences has been working with the asset management team on Central Park Mall in Sydney. Here I’ve had the importance of collaboration and communication highlighted while working with Kevin De Almeida on the delivery of multiple tenancies including Sephora University and Palace Cinemas. I’ve also been able to learn about the vast amount of operational functions and procedures a retail centre needs which I now know should absolutely be considered during development.
In a way the tenacity I’ve developed is very representative of Frasers Property as a business. I’ve learnt it’s an organisation that values ingenuity and whilst I might still get nervous before cold calling someone to ask for help or whether I can assist with a project, I’m yet to find someone who hasn’t offered all they could. This willingness to help reflects the sense of community within the teams as they strive to create places and homes that make the most of new technology and innovation, yet are still warm, connected places. My experience so far has me very excited about my next rotation and my future here at Frasers Property so stay tuned.
Amy Yuan, Graduate