Australia & New Zealand Business Report 2017

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Discovery Reports

Grollo Group lays the foundation for Melbourne’s global transformation

A remodelled take on Melbourne’s original 1885 Rialto building, named for its Venetian Gothic architecture, Rialto was built in 1986

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 5:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 5:18pm

For the past 30 years, Rialto has been an iconic Australian landmark situated in the heart of Melbourne’s emerging Midtown. Home to the city’s biggest finance, law, media, investment, consulting and technology organisations, the modernised 251-metre mirrored skyscraper is pushing forward into the 21st century with a major regeneration and ushering in a new business and lifestyle destination for the next generation.

A remodelled take on Melbourne’s original 1885 Rialto building named for its Venetian Gothic architecture, Rialto was built in 1986 as a joint venture between Grollo Australia and London-based St Martins Property. Construction of the new building is now complete with the first stage of an A$200 million (HK$1.18 billion) regeneration programme set to revive the precinct.

A new five-storey, low-rise boutique office building with a rooftop dining and entertainment hub, state-of-the-art lobby, expanded retail space promoting quality and luxury brands complemented by innovative dining, health and well-being services are just some of the many features of the Rialto Regeneration.

“Melbourne will continue to grow,” says Lorenz Grollo, third-generation CEO of Grollo Group. “We certainly need to participate in a global context and stay competitive. More and more people want to be in vibrant, lively cities – whether it’s New York, London or other major global metropolises. As a property developer, builder and owner we play a role in that.”

Rialto’s success story is one that mirrors Grollo Group’s own journey. In the 1940s, Italian immigrant and company founder Luigi Grollo started a concreting business with a small team of men and one truck. Over the next 50 years and through a number of big breaks, including the construction of Rialto and 400 cyclone-proof homes in Darwin, the business grew into one of Australia’s largest and most successful construction groups. Its “fixed price and fixed time delivery” approach helped establish its reputation for quality and reliability.

“When the family business expanded, the breadth of our projects led to the development of an incredibly loyal and hardworking team of experienced project managers, labourers and contractors.” Grollo says. “It was that network of talent, attention to detail and quality construction that enabled us to grow and prosper.”

In 2012, Lorenz Grollo established Equiem – the world’s first digital real estate community platform. The digital platform transforms the way every single person in a precinct can connect and communicate. It provides exclusive tenant access to concierge services, building amenities, latest news and events, networking opportunities and an online store, with purchases delivered directly to your desk.

Originally designed as a data mining and qualitative metric tool for Rialto to better understand preferences and habits of its vertical community, Equiem has been rolled out across hundreds of buildings in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Equiem has now grown to a team of more than 200 people.

Apart from Rialto and Equiem, Grollo Group’s major assets include Equiset – an integrated property development and project management business focused on cost-effective value management and environmentally sustainable design – and Buller Ski Lifts, the largest ski resort operator in Victoria.

With Melbourne rising in prominence on a global scale, Grollo Group welcomes Asian investors and buyers as it seeks to become more internationally focused.

“Melbourne is changing and growing and we need to adapt to new visitors and new businesses,” Grollo says. “For us at Rialto, it’s not just about signing a lease. We need to become more Asia- and China-literate to better understand their culture – to help them feel welcomed into the community and create a platform for their business to grow.”