Con Markis is finally getting closer to seeing his big dream come true. The Adelaide billionaire property developer has made just about all his money from retail assets - the Makris Group owns 13 shopping centres and commercial properties - but Makris is now shifting his strategy subtly.
The reason is a long-held parcel of land he own’s in the prestigious suburb of North Adelaide, the former Le Cornu site on O’Connell Street. Work will soon begin to transform the site into a $170 million luxury apartment, boutique hotel and retail project. “I’m very excited about this,” Makris tells BRW. “It will look like a European complex, there will be classy apartments and we are negotiating with some big brands for the boutique hotel. It is the best site for a hotel in Adelaide.”
The fight to get approval has been a long, and sometimes bitter, struggle for Makris. The project has long been held up by negotiations and fights with the local council and was eventually approved by the State Government.
The block has been vacant for more than two decades and Markis started buying up the titles on it 11 years ago. Since then, he estimates it has cost him about $30 million in purchasing, holding and legal costs. “This will be the last development I do in or near the Adelaide CBD,” Makris says. “I don’t want to spend the rest of my time arguing with people over things like that.” Work will begin later this year or early 2013 and should be completed in 2013.
Makris is also looking further afield for opportunities. He purchased the Endeavour Hills shopping centre in Melbourne for $94 million earlier this year and is looking for retail assets to buy in Queensland, Makris Group will also soon begin refurbishing and extending Bonnyrigg Plaza in Sydney.