Get to know Ronald Chan, CEO of developer Growland

PUBLICATION: The Real Estate Conversation

Ronald Chan has been appointed CEO of Growland, and has been tasked with leading the company in a new growth phase. Chan grew up in Hong Kong, but went to university in Melbourne, and currently has five projects underway.

How did you first get into property development?

I graduated in 1999 with a double-degree from the University of Melbourne – a Bachelor of Planning and Design and a Bachelor of Property and Construction. Following my graduation, I returned to Hong Kong where I started my first job as a Project Coordinator at one of Hong Kong’s largest development companies – Chun Wo Construction Co.

I went on to spend six years in Hong Kong, where I managed two large-scale residential projects worth a combined value of $425 million.

What do you love most about your job?

Working in this industry means we get to see the full cycle of project development, from site acquisition to completion. I’ve been lucky enough to manage some of Melbourne’s biggest landmark multi-residential projects like the Sheraton Hotel residences, The Emerald, Victoria One, Collins House, Opera and Sky One.

What makes a good developer?

I think the best developers are those that genuinely love what they do and the people they work with. Being able to motivate your team and lead them in a clear direction, while maintaining a sense of comradery and team-spirit is essential to any successful project.

I also believe a good developer is one that creates buildings with the residents in mind at every turn. When you do that, you’ll create something special that will enhance people’s lives and stand the test of time.

What projects are you currently working on?

Growland’s current project focus is Victoria Square, a $600m Footscray development that will house six high-rise buildings and incredible amenity such as Australia’s first aerial outdoor track, an infinity pool and fitness centre, and a retail centre with boutique hospitality and retail offerings.

At this point we have a $1.3b pipeline. It’s an incredibly exciting time to join the team as we’re putting ourselves on the map for high quality but affordable housing in Melbourne.

We’re also focusing on apartment and land subdivision development. Currently we have four apartment developments and land that can be subdivided to include up to 1,400 dwellings.

What sets Growland apart from your competitors?

Growland is a company that was founded in part by an architect, so our developments are always carefully considered and designed to enhance quality of life not just for residents, but all locals in the area. We are committed to creating exceptional liveable communities that will stand the test of time.

What changes would you like to see over the next two to five years in the industry?

It’s an interesting time for the development industry in Australia. Local banks tightening their funding policy against developers’ construction loans is a pressing issue, and developers are being forced to look elsewhere for funding.

If developers struggle to follow through with their projects due to inability to secure funding, appropriate housing will become even more scarce and this will in turn drive prices higher.

Over the next few years I would like to see the government work collaboratively with the development industry to work towards an effective and sustainable solution to housing affordability.