SYDNEY-WIDE … not just mere footprints … but what eyesores they have left behind … and in concrete at that! Emitting CO2 …
Blights on our horizons … every which way! Reading between the lines … we gain an understanding of how they have pulled off this STING of Sydney …
Concrete Kings of Sydney leaving their footprints across the suburbs
One dodged school because of his dyslexia; another started on worksites earning $60 a day; while others are set to inherit their family dynasties. Ben Pike unmasks the 10 developers cashing in on our property boom.
MULTIMEDIA SPECIAL REPORT
Ben Pike, Urban Affairs Reporter, The Sunday TelegraphSubscriber only|February 16, 2020 6:00amPauseMuteLoaded: 100.00%Current Time 0:11/Duration 0:46FullscreenUP NEXT
‘Some started working on building sites for $60 a day; one has a laneway named after his brother at the local council’s insistence; another has been dubbed the “Baron of Blacktown”.’
CAAN: This is a story about the SYDNEY AWFULIZERS!
Meet the Concrete Kings of Sydney.
‘The Sunday Telegraph today unmasks 10 builders who’ve shaped Sydney and ridden an unprecedented wave of property development fuelled by record population growth.‘
CAAN: Some have achieved much public attention … even controversy …. with flashy actions like Jean Nassif’s yellow Lamborghini present for his wife, and former Auburn mayor, Ronney Queik’s sacking alongside Deputy Salim Mehajer … and his apartment development that lost half of its roof due to structural defects during a storm in January 2016!
AIG claimed the roof of the building contained structural defects and the storm was not the cause.
-others are known as the money men behind property development deals with NRL Clubs
-the Concrete Kings have a back catalogue and project pipeline worth at least $36.79Bn and 110,000 dwellings; mostly apartments across 100 Sydney suburbs
-30,000 more dwellings than what currently exists in the whole City of Parramatta council area
-an ethnically diverse group; from Lebanese, Chinese, Irish, Indian and traditional Australian heritage
‘Among them is mogul Bhart Bhushan – dubbed “The Baron of Blacktown”, Khattar family patriarch Joe – known as “the Harry Triguboff of Parramatta”, 30-year-old Jin Lin – heir to his family’s $25 billion fortune, and Steve Grant – a multi-millionaire who found any excuse not to go to school thanks to his dyslexia.
JEAN NASSIF – KING OF THE HILLS
-Jean Nassif was the little-known property developer until his Instagram video gifting his wife with a yellow $480,000 Lamborghini went viral
–numerous projects near the airport; but largely concentrates his apartments in the Hills District
-he escaped the Lebanese civil war in 1988; started a concreting company in Sydney, and delivered more than 30,000 apartments
IT would seem not unlike Harry Triguboff Jean Nassif speaks often about “unnecessary delays caused by the current planning system”.
How credible is this? In view of the 110,000 dwellings; mostly apartments across 100 Sydney suburbs … and that dealing with government he alleges “has become increasingly difficult in recent years with both government officials and politicians isolating themselves from any kind of meaningful discussion with the property sector”.
CAAN: Is this because they have been caught out with the Greens having found diary entries of a Planning Minister recording some 53 appointments with developers and not a single resident over a 9 month period?
‘During 2019 he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession, and had his proposal for 46 high-rise towers in Cherrybrook containing 3200 homes knocked back in October.
He has asked the NSW Department of Planning for a review of that decision.
Mr Nassif’s company JKN Para 1 is being taken to the NSW Land and Environment Court by owners of Parramatta Rise.
-property owners claim the 28 storey building has illegal combustible cladding; the company alleges it was compliant with NSW Laws
-JN is taking the City of Sydney council to court over the bill for a set of traffic lights at a 393-apartment development in Rosebery
SARKIS NASSIF – HIGH-RISE HEAVEN
‘If there is one thing Sarkis Nassif hates, it’s being compared with his brother.
But he can console himself with the fact he’s richer, keeps his gripes largely private, hasn’t been the subject of spoof online videos and hasn’t been busted for cocaine possession.
Sources close to Sarkis say he and his brother “are chalk and cheese” and that Sarkis is the often-frustrated patriarch of the Nassif family.
Sarkis Nassif started out in the 1980s on $60 a day working as a form worker (similar to scaffolding) on building sites.
He’s gone on to make a hell of a lot of money turning Parramatta, Meadowbank, Burwood and Auburn into high-density neighbourhoods.’
–Sarkis owns numerous shopping centres including Windsor Marketplace, Burwood Plaza and Chester Square in Chester Hill.
‘Industry insiders say “he’s very well regarded and seen as decent to do business with”.
“Very early on he did build Auburn Shopping Centre, which is a disaster, but he has lifted his game since then,” the source said.’
-July 2019 two Ryde apartment blocks built by Holdmark were issued with orders over concerns they had combustible cladding.
He told The Sunday Telegraph: “Starting Holdmark was a challenge, however it taught me to never do anything that you are not passionate about, and I am very passionate about Holdmark”.
STEVE GRANT – FROM SEFTON TO SUCCESS
‘He is the dyslexic son of a Sefton sheet metal worker and a receptionist who left school in Year 10 to work in construction.’
-he is now estimated to be worth at least $100M; currently overseeing projects worth about $1 billion.
‘Mr Grant says his dyslexia taught him the importance of laser-like focus and getting things right.
“If I rush an email for example people might not be able to read it,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.
“When I was younger I couldn’t spell, I couldn’t read. I can’t read out loud today.”
-having dyslexia meant he found excuses not to go to school
“If there was a spelling bee at school and people were going in turns around the room, I had to find a way to get out of there,” he said.
“Whether it meant making myself sick, or whatever excuse I had, it was like panic stations that I need to get out of there.”
-to date he has built 46 buildings in Norwest business park; converting it from a cow paddock to an economic powerhouse
-to get business he takes clients out to Norwest, knowing that “the best advertisement was a recommendation”
“I would say to (prospective clients) pick one of those buildings and I will call the client and see if we can get in and look at it,” he said.
“I rang the client and by the time I brought the prospective customer in, more than likely the client would meet them and tell them how good I was.
“And that would be the sale for me.”
–Grant owns the first two stages ($450m) of the four-stage $1 billion Woolooware Bay Town Centre development in Sydney’s south.
-the apartment, retail and hotel development; sold to Chinese developer Aoyuan, is next to Shark Park in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire
–2019 he sold Capital Bluestone, a company of which he was the majority shareholder, for $200m.
‘He named the Chinese Consulate General building in Camperdown as “the best building I’ve done”.’
JOE KHATTAR – “THE HARRY TRIGUBOFF OF PARRAMATTA”
The Khattar family and Dyldam are so massive in Parramatta that in 2015 a laneway beside the Parramatta River – at Parramatta Council’s insistence – was named after Joe Khattar’s late brother George Khattar.
-Joe Khattar is the boss, and the founder of the behemoth that is Dyldam
-Joe started out in construction after moving out from Lebanon in 1967
-he co-founded a company which three years ago had 17 major projects on the go at once – all of them worth at least $100m
‘Sources say two distinct branches of the family are often at odds, but Mr Khattar told The Sunday Telegraph “we still work as a group – there are no differences”.’
-the company had a falling out with Ray Hadley, over his claim that subcontractors had not been paid by Dyldam subsidiaries
‘Mr Hadley, who paid tribute on 2GB to George Khattar when he died in 2010, said recently: “I no longer do live reads for Dyldam and have not for some time. They are no longer an advertiser on 2GB. I greatly respect Joe Khattar and always will.”
Mr Khattar said the company had very little involvement in the subcontractor matter and “I still respect Ray Hadley and like him as a family friend”. Mr Hadley.’
-Khattar has hosed down fresh controversy over Parramatta Council bypassing protocol to name a lanewayafter his late brother George
‘Mr Khattar told The Sunday Telegraph this week “the council wanted to honour my brother” for the “amount of work he had done with Parramatta council”.’
-and said that George was also a big sponsor of the Parramatta Eels, donated to charities and made a “huge contribution” to the area.
‘Parramatta councillor Lorraine Wearne was lord mayor at the 2015 ceremony and unveiled the plaque and street sign.
-she distanced herself from the naming this week, saying the council bypassed normal naming protocols to ensure he was honoured
“Personally it seems to me some questions around the appropriateness of naming a laneway after a very prominent property developer in the area,” she said.
“There was no research as to whether there should be other people considered to have it named after them.
“Usually there is a methodology. This did not arise through council and its normal methodology to have a street named after someone.
“It arose out of a resolution of the chamber.”
-Joe Khattar is a community leader in the Maronite Christian community and leads the Australian-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce
“We are like the Harry Triguboff of Parramatta and western Sydney in terms of our sheer size – but we’re not competitive like that,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.
RONNEY OUEIK – “NEVER SAY NEVER”
‘Former Auburn mayor and state Liberal Party candidate Ronney Oueik hit the headlines in 2015 in the wake of his deputy Salim Mehajer’s lavish wedding.
-the subsequent public inquiry into Auburn Council shone a light on Mr Oueik’s extensive development portfolio
-and his close relationship with former Auburn Council planning executive Glenn Francis; who now works for him
The public inquiry found:
-when Mr Oueik was a councillor, Auburn Council and the state government approved rezoning of the Marsden Street Planning Proposal
-increasing his extensive property holdings in a few Lidcombe streets by $24m.
-Mr Oueik was cleared of any wrongdoing
-he campaigned with premier Mike Baird and missed out on a seat in NSW Parliament by 4527 votes
FOUAD DEIRI – FULL STEAM AHEAD FOR DEICORP
RELATED ARTICLE … And learn more about how FD has made his fortune! *
Rouse Hill: Developer DEICORP submits plans for 375 apartments
WHY did Landcom appoint Deicorp for the Sydney Metro Tallawong Station Housing Project? View:
‘The past decade has been stellar for his company, culminating in big contracts with government developer Landcom to build the Tallawong station precinct and the old Castle Hill Showground site.
-a massive Dragons fan; his company sponsors the NRL club
-Fouad Deiri learned his trade on buildings sites run by the McNamara family; a major building company in Parramatta.
-he has gone onto oversee $2.5 billion in development in 37 Sydney suburbs
-Fouad is on the board of the Australian Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
‘In 2014 a company spruiking his Dei Cota apartments in Redfern claimed: “Dei Cota has good rental return and convenient location. The Aboriginals have already moved out, now Redfern is the last virgin suburb close to city.”
‘Mr Deiri was forced to step in and apologise to indigenous leaders. He told The Australian newspaper at the time that the Chinese company tasked with selling the apartments created advertisements that were “just not worded correctly”.
He declined to comment when contacted by The Sunday Telegraph.’
JOHN KINSELLA – DAIRY FARMER WHO DARED TO DREAM
‘If you drive through Rhodes, Sydney Olympic Park or Wentworth Point in Sydney’s inner west you can’t miss John Kinsella’s buildings.
‘The Irish-born son of a dairy farmer – who by his own admission grew up in “humble surroundings” – started a construction company with his brother Bill in 1988.’
-today, Billbergia is one of Sydney’s largest privately-owned developers.
-his wife Riezel is the owner and founder of RK Realty Group, the company that markets Billbergia’s apartments
“The recent issues with building quality, also has an impact on the industry as a whole,” Mr Kinsella told The Sunday Telegraph.
“While Billbergia hasn’t been associated with any of these negative issues, the industry needs to give people confidence in what they are buying.”
Asked what he wants his legacy to be, he said: “We want to look back and be proud to see thriving communities in well-built developments that add to the quality of life”.
This latter comment from the developer seems to be contrary to the views expressed by a number of Wentworth Point owners we have spoken to! They are dissatisfied and angered by the overdevelopment that has occurred with many having been robbed of their views
TONY MERHI – “PROPERTY IN MY DNA”
Tony Merhi’s BIO boasts about his “phenomenal success rate” and “using a small loophole in the LEP” of Hills Council to get some of his previous developments through.
–Merhi’s business is getting planning approval for large sites before onselling
–his bio fails to mention the $5000 he deposited into the account of Liberal Party fund Eightbyfive shortly before the 2011 NSW state election
-according to the ICAC report into the NSW Liberal Party electoral funding, the payment was directed by Mr Merhi himself
-there were no adverse findings against Mr Merhi
-evidence revealed that Mr Merhi is “very close friends” with Dominic Perrottet; NSW Treasurer
-according to his bio, Mr Merhi has “combined gross realisations for all current DA approved projects to more than $2b
-government sources described Merhi as someone “who is very good at associating himself with people in power on both sides of politics”
“I have a family background in the building industry. You could say that property is in my DNA,” Mr Merhi said.
BHART BHUSHAN – “BARON OF BLACKTOWN”
‘If anyone has ridden the golden wave of immigrant-driven property development in western Sydney, it’s the ‘Baron of Blacktown’ Indian-born Bhart Bhushan.
-Bhusan started solo in 1997 and has since developed 2500 properties, employing about 264 people – many on 457 visas
‘Sources say he loves to walk around in humble clothes and a baseball cap but don’t let that fool you: Internally he’s known as “the billion dollar man”.’
-his company specialises in townhouse and detached home developments
-he runs projects in-house from start to finish from his twin factory site at Girraween
-in 2011 ASIC found Mr Bhushan engaged in “unconscionable conduct” offering dodgy vendor loans to both Centrelink recipients and new immigrants who barely spoke English
-he avoided prosecution by agreeing to a victims compensation scheme
-a master of using the Land and Environment Court to get his developments faster approval
–having lodged more than 180 appeals with the NSW Land and Environment Court since 2012; costing Blacktown City Council ratepayers more than $2 million in legal fees since then
“We tried to have a truce with him at council but that lasted about two months before he was back into it again,” Blacktown councillor and Labor MP Stephen Bali told The Sunday Telegraph.
“He just wants to ram through acres of development in 40-60 days.”
–Blacktown Council has called on the NSW Government to reform the “deemed refusal” provisions Mr Bhushan uses
‘Blacktown Labor MP Stephen Bali said the Bathla Group’s Schofields neighbourhood as “a Soviet-style development” and “the worst developed property in NSW”. *
-the Schofields development, finished in 2018, was the result of a court case the council lost
-in 2018 Mr Bhushan’s Universal Property Group was fined $135,000 for breaching the Work Health and Safety Act
-a surveyor working on their Doonside building site fell 4m before becoming impaled on upright concrete reinforcing bars
-in 2016 Bathla Group offloaded an approved 2.2ha development site for $43.7M in one of northwest Sydney’s largest land deals.
– Bhushan declined to comment
JIN LIN – MAN OF MYSTERY
Related Article …
Aqualand Founder Shangjin JinLin now Australia’s 7th Richest Person under 40
-30 year old Shangjin “Jin” Lin; already amassed a staggering $659M fortune
–the founder and group managing director of real estate developer Aqualand; founded in 2014; financial backing of his father, Yi Ling ‘s Shenglong Group
–Jin Lin was said to have permanent residency by 2011 and Villa Igiea was purchased without the need for approval by the FIRB
–Aqualand last year became the second biggest shareholder in real estate agency McGrath with a 15% stake
‘The Macquarie University graduate who will one day inherit his father’s $25 billion Chinese property empire has been tasked with steering Aqualand’s $5 billion in projects in Australia.
He is close to his father Yi Lin, whom he speaks with every day.
The family shot to fame when they stumped up $52 million for the Villa Igiea in Vaucluse before applying for a $22m renovation.
“His father also brought in some steady hands to the business a few years ago, and so he has good people around him,” the source said.
READ THE FULL REPORT HERE:
LIKE CAAN ON FACEBOOK!
SEARCH CAAN WEBSITE for more Reports!