The right choice
Graystone is unique. With their integrated services, they have gained a reputation for excellence in all of their functions. This reputation has helped them maintain a very busy pipeline of projects. Operating in South-East Queensland,they provide end-to-end business solutions for property owners and developers, who have become their best advertisements through referrals and repeat business. Graystone offers cost-effective and flexible property solutions to companies considering relocating, expanding or rationalising their business premises. They have a multitude of abilities and in depth experience in commercial and industrial parks, technical facilities, high-rise and low-rise offices, staged refurbishments, and manufacturing facilities. The Graystone Group has developed and currently owns a large proportion of Brisbane Technology Park. The park itself is located 13 kms from Brisbane’s CBD, offering a great location forcompanies, and provides great access to a vibrant business community. This is part of their continuing strategy to retain ownership of their developments. They are now focusing on becoming an investment property vehicle.
Making the client part of the team
Graystone’s Development Director Chris Orr credits much of the success that they have enjoyed to both their experiences and the relationships that they forge with their clients. “Graystone has been in operation for over 25 years in South East Queensland and has developed and owned commercial and industrial property through good and difficult markets,” says Chris.“We work very closely with our tenants to gain understanding of their future business needs as we deliver the entire project from base building to final fit out and then manage the R&M on the building going forward.” He says that it only makes sense to utilise Graystone’s capabilities if the client is a long term holder of an asset. He promises that Graystone will “do it once and do it well.”He says that Graystone aims to develop long term relationships with both clients and tenants. He points to the Brisbane Technology Park as a landmark of their operational success. “It is a combination of factors which make Graystone unique in the South East Queensland Market,” says Chris. “With more than 25 years property experience throughout Brisbane and South East Queensland,Graystone has earned an enviable reputation for producing commercial and industrial investment properties that exceed the expectations of our tenants.”
Chris himself has a worked in South East Queensland’s commercial and industrial property market for the past 19 years. He has held senior positions with leading property developer and consultants in the area, and has vast experience in dealing with complex transactions between investors and large scale occupiers.One of the skills that Chris has been recognised for is his ability to maximise the value of the projects he has been involved in.
Separate strengths, linked abilities
“Graystone is a fully integrated property group capable of managing the full spectrum of property investment from site selection, feasibility assessment, leasing, project planning and delivery and property management,” says Chris. To service each aspect of the building and management process,Graystone engages external architects, engineers and other disciplines, and then carefully manages the entire process. “Graystone engages positively with all major real estate agencies to ensure our investment properties attract the best tenants. Graystone also retains a professional marketing team to ensure tenant requirements are fully understood and our buildings exceed expectations,” says Chris. Almost every project has become a landmark in South East Queensland. “In more recent years,Graystone has taken a precinct focused approach, delivering business parks and industrial estates of exceptional quality. These have set new benchmarks for commercial streetscapes, building amenities for our tenants, and most importantly lower building occupancy costs that facilitate the superior financial performance of Graystone investment properties,” says Chris.
Making a project a landmark
Their involvement with the Brisbane Technology Park is typical of their abilities and history of successful developments, says Chris. The park was an initiative begun by the Queensland Government in 1985.The area was zoned as a high technology district by 1986. This was part of a major initiative that the government undertook in order to promote and foster technology-based industries in the area. “At the time, a number of technology parks were starting to develop throughout Australia, either as stand-alone State-Government initiatives or in conjunction with major universities,” says Chris. TodayBrisbane Technology Park stands as a home to over 90 National and Multi-National companies taking advantage of the prime location, state of art resources and infrastructure. “Brisbane Technology Park is proud to bring like-minded organisations together in diverse technology clusters such as bio-technology, software, pharmaceutical, survey and mapping,and technology support services,” says Chris.
He says that companies that wish to reside at this exclusive technology park in Brisbane have a number of options in regards to the type of facilities that are available. Brisbane Technology Park has spaces developed that can function as commercial office space and laboratory space, either within an existing building or in a new building.
“Brisbane Technology Park is now recognised as Brisbane and Queensland’s premier technology park,” says Chris. “We currently have a number of projects within Brisbane Technology Park at different stages in the development cycle. Our latest project is at 88 Brandl Street, and was completed at the end of May,” he says.
“It represents one of our best buildings to date, utilising variable refrigerant volume air conditioning for improved energy and building efficiency and an onsite coffee shop for employee convenience. Other current new projects include the Lower Brandl precinct which will deliver approximately 12,000sqm when completed and BTP Central which will deliver another 22,000sqm of new office and technical space to the market.Outside Brisbane Technology Park we have a new business park project located beside the recently rebuilt Darra Railway Station known as Westlinkgreen which will deliver approximately 20,000sqm of office, technical and storage space to the western suburbs of Brisbane.”
The scope of Graystone’sability is focused on delivering around 6000 to 8000 square meters of new space a year into the Brisbane Technology Park. “Over the past couple of years we have been below this trend but recent levels of enquiry are looking encouraging.For a suburban office park we find the drivers are large floor plates of quality space with ample natural light and a leafy outlook,” says Chris. He also says that in order to reach this goal Graystone will have to build two new buildings, which would have to reach completion in little more than a year. Although this has been the core of their operations they have been investigating a number of industrial opportunities – “opportunities as the development fundamentals are beginning to look more interesting,” says Chris.
Building for tomorrow
Graystone looks to the future, and even during the hard times they have endeavoured to hold on to valued staff members, even through the toughest times. “We are a small team of approximately 20 who are actively engaged in the ongoing success of the business. Through the difficult market of 2009 and 2010 we managed to retain the majority of staff. Even through this slower market, a profit was delivered to the bottom line and a small bonus was paid to longer term staff,” says Chris. This is an approach that not many are taking, with many managers looking at dropping work and the cost to their bottom line, they have reduced their workforce. Graystone has held onto their employees, because they see them as an investment, and rebuilding their capabilities after the GFC will be that much easier with all hands on board.
Another thing that they have taken a leading role in is their implementation of sustainable technologies into their developments. “All new buildings obviously need to comply with the current BCA guidelines which include a number of green initiatives. We have two members of staff who are BEEC accredited NABERS and Green Star assessors,” says Chris. “Our buildings are designed to meet a 5 star NABERS rating.” These initiatives include rain water collection, variable flow refrigerant air conditioning systems, energy efficient lighting systems, and heat pump hot water systems. “We have reused a number of buildings in the park with a recent refurbishment of a 20-year-old tilt slab laboratory and warehouse building being converted into a new office facility for QMI,” he says.
For the future, Graystone will continue to focus on developing their projects within Brisbane Technology Park. “We will be well progressed with the next generation of projects such as BTP Central,” says Chris. “Graystone will also be well advanced on a number of external projects which may include both technology parks in other regions or more traditional industrial occupiers,” he says.“Within the next five years the Graystone Group will manage over 500 million dollars of investment properties within our various technology and business precincts.”