In profile: Allen Matis, head of property at SilverNeedle Hospitality
Allen Matis is executive vice president of property at SilverNeedle Hospitality, which is undertaking a multimillion-dollar refurbishment of the Chifley Brisbane in time for the G20 summit.
How long have you been in the industry?
Before starting with SilverNeedle Hospitality, I worked in the real estate development and investment industry in the United States and Asia for over 25 years. In that period I was fortunate enough to be a part of organisations like LaSalle Investment Managements (LIM), where I was responsible for a development portfolio representing an aggregate investment in excess of US$4 billion over more than 30 separate developments across Asia. It allowed me to work closely with LIM’s acquisition and asset management teams and lead on all matters related to the development from process including the review of prospective projects and partners, project planning, selection of designers and consultants, negotiations and award of contractors and suppliers, and oversight of each development’s execution.
Prior to joining LaSalle, I established Oriental Development Ltd in Shanghai, providing development management services for various real estate investors. I have also worked with project management and construction company, Bovis Lend Lease, from 1985 through 2002. Over a 10-year period as the greater China country manager with Bovis Lend Lease, I was responsible for over 100 projects with an aggregate construction value in excess of US$4 billion. Today I provide leadership to the SilverNeedle Hospitality property team.
What’s happening in the area you specialise in?
The real estate investment industry has suffered since the GFC. It is slowly coming out of the deep effects of the crisis, and we can now see some positive forward momentum starting to take place. There are good-quality assets available in the market and several good opportunities are available. In a climate like this investors need to be selective and know where to look for these assets.
Describe the most interesting property development or transaction you have been involved in.
I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of several exciting development projects and transactions in my career. Most recently, I’ve been involved the acquisition of Chifley Lennons in Brisbane, located in the heart of the Queen Street mall precinct. We purchased the property for $57 million in September and have committed a further $35 million to rejuvenate the hotel and retail areas. This is an important project for SilverNeedle Hospitality as it will be the platform for us to launch our flagship brand NEXT Hotels and Resorts.
What are the ingredients to being successful in your job?
A key ingredient that cannot be emphasised enough is common sense, a quality that often determines success in this field. I’m also a big believer in good old-fashioned hard work and honesty, there rarely is a substitute for the two. A straightforward approach also goes a long way.
What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?
This role affords me to be part of the creation process. It allows me to see a passion turned into to reality. That’s what keeps me motivated and raring to go every morning.
Where would you invest a spare $750,000?
A personal residential project in Pho Quoc Island in Vietnam. The infrastructure is underway to support the fast growing tourism industry; it is poised to be the next "Phuket" in Asia.
Which football team do you support?
The Chicago Bears.
What’s your favourite app or techno gadget?
My electric guitar.
How do you use social media?
I don’t have the time or the inclination to dabble too much in social media.
LinkedIn profile: Allen.Matis
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The Mark at Sydney's Central Park
Those who take the time to do some research before tossing a few hundred thousand at an investment property tend to focus on demand, with scant regard for the flipside of the growth equation.