• December
  • 2023
  • Portrait Series
  • News

One of a kind

As part of our portrait series, we sat down with Ryan Bennetts, CE’s Head of Acquisitions. He outlined how the company’s focus on premium and ultra-luxury residential guides his teams’ approach to acquisitions and finding sites with characteristics and attributes that speak to this.

  • December
  • 2023
  • Portrait Series
  • News

Can you talk us through CE’s acquisition approach?

Our approach to acquisitions is absolutely unique. It comes down to two things: firstly, being genuine and secondly being the best at creating alignment. Alignment to landowners is our bread and butter and I really believe that if you could bottle it the way that we create it and sell that, then everything else we do would be for fun.

This is the key to CE’s acquisition approach and if there was one thing that sets us apart in this regard, this is it.

It’s no secret that we have an incredibly enviable pipeline of development projects and that hasn’t occurred by accident. It’s been intentional, we’re very selective, we’re proactive, we’re patient and we work with landowners in a really considered way to make sure that they get what they’re looking for out of the deal and that it works for both sides.

Has the focus for CE always been on premium and ultra-luxury residences?

Our focus is solely on premium and ultra-luxury residential and whilst we have delivered projects in the past catering to various market demands, the last five years have really seen us build a pipeline of magnificent projects in some of Sydney’s most sought-after locations.

I truly believe that our ability to select sites that house characteristics and attributes that speak to luxury has allowed us to deliver high end quality products and provided that platform for our development team to really push the boundaries. I think that’s what we do really well.

We’re careful in what we chase, we’re intentional in what we pursue. When it comes to land around Sydney, we plot out what are the most sought-after land parcels up and down the eastern seaboard and that’s really what we want to target. I think our pursuit of luxury has often come from that, going after the best of the best. We’re learning, we’re growing, we’re evolving with every project and applying that to each new development.

What sets CE apart from its competitors?

Our commitment to areas of discipline certainly distinguishes CE from other developers. We’re very much area specific and focus on delivering exceptional projects in what is quite a short list of geographical locations.

Our real point of difference is the ability to deliver one such thing in various scales. An example would be, we’ve completed four luxury residential apartments in Mosman – incredible quality, oversized product, single floor penthouse style apartments. Then the ability to deliver a project like Hyde Park, which has the same level of quality in a tower form in the CBD. Is truly a representation of what CE is good at, I can’t think of many other developers that can deliver such high quality product over varying scale of size, complexity etc.

In the last couple of years, how have you seen the company’s acquisition direction change, grow and evolve?

I think we’re always refining how we go about our acquisitions. In more recent times it’s been more about collaborating with landowners, rather than the traditional vendor sells to developer scenario. It has become an increasingly important part of our business, which very much excites me because you don’t get to choose these kinds of deals all the time, you earn them. The deals I am referring to are the ones where the highest price can’t simply win, it’s more about alignment, understanding, vision and the ability to execute as a true measure.

Our brand has become increasingly well recognised in the past few years. It’s this recognition that has earned us seats at many a table with incredibly savvy, well-advised landowners that only want to deal with people of the highest caliber. A lot of what starts as simple conversations have led to unlocking remarkable sites, that simply wouldn’t transact without alignment. When we refer to these landowners, we’re really talking about them as partners.

What do you think CE brings to the Sydney property market with its projects?

CE is making a dynamic contribution to Sydney’s property landscape. A CE project is highly recognisable, and it’s incredible what our team is achieving.

I often joke internally that my job is made easy because of what everyone else in the company does. I say this as you’re only as good as your projects, your people and your team.

People understandably think of my role as a buying role, when in reality I am selling more that I am buying. I’m selling our capability, our expertise, and our unique point of difference. These are things that I believe landowners need to know about CE, because there is so much more than meets the eye. Whilst our contribution across Sydney is compelling and always will be, I’m constantly blown away by what our team does and that makes my job a lot easier and more enjoyable.

What does the future of CE look like?

The future of CE is one where the business will go from strength to strength. The team, the comradery, the all-in attitude is at the very core of the business and with that comes incredibly strong foundations for continues success and growth.

From an acquisition perspective, more announcements will come as landowners see value in choosing to alight with CE. Whether it be outright acquisitions, strata amalgamations, working with privates, organisations, charities, clubs wanting to ensure certainty of outcome and protect their future.

Our desire to unearth sites will remain constant, so too will our willingness to listen, to understand, and to respond accordingly.

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