In property, it pays to be mad
It is all too hard, if property magnate Lang Walker is to be believed.
The Walker Corporation executive chairman spoke at Sydney's Westin Hotel on Wednesday at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce's lunch, where he dropped his pearls of wisdom on more than 800 bricks-and-mortar devotees.
Walker, new Mirvac boss Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz and Brookfield Australia's Bill Powell told the assembled salmon-munching throng that the next 100 days of the (new) government would be critical for the property sector.
Pithy as usual, Lang said the one way to get the party started was to streamline the planning regulations enforced by the three levels of local, state and federal governments.
"We as a nation are burdened by regulation," he said. "You'd have to be mad to be a property developer, and, in my 50 years, what I've seen I could write 12 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica."
Proof madness pays, apparently: regardless of red tape, Walker has built a $2 billion fortune by building two development empires.
The threat of bankruptcy over a $7200 debt does not seem to have fazed fallen footballer Brendan Fevola.
As Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday, Brisbane businessman Lou Menniti has asked the Federal Circuit Court to bankrupt the former Carlton goalkicker at a hearing later this month.
Fev took to Twitter to address the pending lawsuit. Just kidding - he instead issued a stream of tweets praising US Open loser "Little" Lleyton Hewitt, plugging his Ovens & Murray football side Yarrawonga and praising the weather.
"Cracking Melbourne day today," Fev twitted. "Just to [sic] windy for golf."
He said he was going out to lunch instead.
Tower guzzle fest
The ANZ Bank tower in Sydney was officially opened on Tuesday morning, but the fun was
had later that day when lawyers, bankers and property types mingled and marvelled at the concrete and steel monolith during a twilight champers and cocktails guzzle fest.
Having officiated in the morning, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell gave another welcome, this time in the company of a glowing Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore.
The three amigos behind the 43-storey tower - GPT's Michael Cameron, ANZ secret agent Mike Smith and Grocon's Daniel Grollo - were there, as was the chairman of Barangaroo Delivery Authority and former head of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Terry Moran, and ANZ chairman and property stalwart John Morschel.
Could this be a leading indicator that good times are back? Australia's only listed strip club operator, Planet Platinum, is back in the black. In accounts filed on Friday night, the company, which runs Melbourne nudie venue Showgirls Bar 20 and is the landlord of suburban knocking shop Daily Planet, declared a $231,000 profit.
But while this was far better than the $248,000 loss declared in 2012, the turnaround was not due to a sudden surge in cashed-up stockbrokers flooding the strip joint. Revenue was flat and the healthier bottom line was instead due to an outsize write-down of goodwill in 2012.
And the report shows there are doubts about whether the company, headed by John Trimble, the nephew of late crime boss Robert "Aussie Bob" Trimbole, can collect $2.7 million from a company called Metropolis City Promotions. Metropolis is associated with, er, John Trimble.
And while Robert Bottazzi was elected to the board in June, he is yet to formally become a director because he is still yet to be approved by Victoria's liquor authority.
Lacking the required three directors, Planet Platinum remains suspended from the ASX.
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