Colliers’ newly appointed National Directors, Michael Crombie and Trent Gallagher, spoke to MHD about their novel leadership roles, and how their South Sydney and South West Sydney Industrial teams have combined forces to service clients from Port Botany to the Liverpool Precinct and further.
As Sydney’s vacancy rates continue to be the lowest nationwide at 0.1 per cent, and its various markets remain tight, the New South Wales capital city is still keeping agents from Colliers busier than ever with investment, development and leasing opportunities arising in its major precincts – especially as South Sydney and South West Sydney remain strong.
Newly appointed National Directors, Michael Crombie – who’s been an agent for almost 20 years – and Trent Gallagher – who’s been an agent for the past 16 years – are leading the South Sydney and South West Sydney Industrial teams.
The South Sydney team at Colliers is extremely successful, holding more than 86 per cent market share across all completed asset deals while South West Sydney has the ability to accommodate buyers and tenants in this market at a much lower price.
COMBINING TEAMS FOR MAXIMUM RESULTS
Colliers’ new National Directors believe they’ll be able to dominate the South Sydney and South West Sydney markets by combining the skillsets of both of their teams to maximise the potential of property for clients.
“If you have a lot of tenure within an agency, it means you’re doing extremely well,” explains Trent Gallagher, National Director at Colliers. “We’ve established strong foundations over the years and can now create a robust platform for long-term growth into the market.”
With South Sydney being the most expensive industrial market in the country, Michael says tenacity, mental acuity and meticulousness are required when responding to client needs or meeting tenant requirements.
“We want to bring this skillset to the Inner South West and the Inner West markets to continue servicing our clients,” he adds.
Fourteen brokers work out of these two offices, offering sales and leasing predominantly in the industrial space. Together, Michael and Trent manage land, build, investment sales and leasing.
“When we sell a product, we sell an end-to-end solution,” explains Michael. “For example, a client will say, ‘I want you to value our site; what is the highest and best value?’ We value that site and say, ‘the best value is the underlying land.’ We produce a solution such as selling it to someone who’s a specialist in maximising the highest and best use of the land.
“We work with our clients’ requirements and collaborate with the various Colliers service offerings, whether it’s incorporating ESG into an existing or new facility or providing high clearance in a warehouse for logistics purposes. It’s paramount we advise our clients as to what solution will be benefit them the most.”
SHOWING CLIENTS POTENTIAL OPPORTUNITIES
Michael and Trent – as leaders of their respective teams – cover South Sydney’s three main areas of Botany, Alexandria and Mascot where there are various industrial holdings.
In the South West, they cover suburbs including Kingsgrove, Riverwood, Bankstown, Moorebank, and Condell Park along the M5 Motorway and down to Chipping Norton, Minto, Ingleburn and Smeaton Grange.
“South Sydney is the beating heart of the industrial market in Australia,” says Michael. “While the whole ring surrounding it is land constrained, it’s close to the CBD, Port Botany, and the airport. The new infrastructure like the M4 and M5 along with the West Connex gateway, are making it easier for our clients to transport their goods around Sydney.”
In the South West, there aren’t any available facilities for clients to occupy. Michael notes the COVID-19 pandemic changed the industry – particularly the leasing environment.
Businesses are needing anywhere between 3,000 to 30,000 sqm of space. Pre-pandemic, they were requiring 500 to 3,000 sqm. This is due to high demand from both in-person retail stores and the burgeoning e-commerce sector.
On average, South Sydney occupiers are paying more than double to buy or lease a building compared to the nearby South West market.
“We believe there’s value add there because we can now offer to these South Sydney occupiers – who are current clients – cheaper options with new improved infrastructure in the South West,” adds Trent. “It will deliver high returns for them.”
TREATING BUSINESS LIKE FAMILY
“At Colliers, we work as a family,” explains Michael. “When you’ve been at a company for a long time, you learn to love and enjoy who you’re working with daily, and you look out for each other. Our clients are familiar with us – and because of this – they’re more than comfortable to call us for help.
“We want to ensure our team is united, that we’re sharing the right data, knowledge, and cooperating towards providing client excellence. By having a close relationship with our clients, we can bring that level of closeness to the greater Colliers business.”
The M8 links travellers directly from Alexandria to the M5 via an underground tunnel. “This makes it easier and quicker for occupiers and trucks to ship products from Alexandria to other markets,” says Trent.
The South Sydney and South West Sydney offices will operate as usual despite Michael’s and Trent’s appointments as National Directors and the joining of their teams, although some of the key South Sydney agents have permanently transferred to the South West office.
“Both offices will act as one even though we run out of two different locations,” adds Trent. “We’ll continue to have multiple weekly meetings together and catch up on the market conditions, live enquiries, and active vendors to enhance value for our clients, and our agents can work hybrid between both offices.”
The South Sydney and South West teams liaise with their North Shore counterpart, and as a group, collaborate with other Colliers New South Wales teams and further work together with the National business.
Due to the new motorway networks, connectivity has been drastically improved with most of the areas in these precincts now within an hour’s drive of one another. This enables Colliers’ clients to choose industrial locations at cheaper prices in places like those in South West Sydney.
Michael and Trent have transacted more than $700 million worth of industrial property with values still strong despite increased interest rates, but demand is high while there’s little stock availability. Rents across Sydney have almost doubled in the past 12 to 18 months, allowing landlords to only lower their prices slightly.
MAINTAINING MOMENTUM AND SHARING SUCCESSES
Michael and Trent managed the sale process of LOGOS’ multi-storey facility for $802 million in 2021 – putting these multi-level buildings on the map for Australia.
“Nobody knows multi-level like we do,” Michael says. “There have only been seven multi-level lease transactions to date – we’ve managed five of them. We’ve sold a turnkey product to be delivered to an incoming buyer.”
Trent says the plan for 2024 is to retain the 86 per cent market share Colliers has in the South West and continue to provide value to our clients.
“We’ll keep providing value to our clients,” he adds. “Managing and negotiating more deals, lowering the product, the stock – that’s what we need to do.”
Like other Colliers teams across the country, the South Sydney and South West Sydney teams embrace not only the idea of operating like a family but fostering happiness among both staff and clients.
“If we’re happy, our staff are happy, and our clients are happy,” says Michael. “We love what we do. It’s all about enjoyment, and growing our passions through hard work, which always pays off. We get to meet some of the most amazing people from developers to entrepreneurs to CEOs and CFOs.
“Some days we’re designing buildings, other days we’re selling the first multi-storey warehouse in Australia. We’re lucky to enjoy a dynamic rhythm every day. We want to share our enthusiasm and love for what we do with Colliers’ Greater New South Wales Business. Success breeds success. The more successful we are as a greater business, the better we can accelerate the success of our clients.”
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