New names in Property Hall of Fame

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Three Australian property industry luminaries – Ervin Graf, Bruno Grollo and Rino Grollo – are to be invested into the Australian Property Hall of Fame.

“All three inductees have been extraordinary visionaries within the industry,” says Property Council of Australia national president, Darren Steinberg, adding that they have not only redefined Australia’s property industry, but also reshaped the urban landscape and how people live.

The Australian Property Hall of Fame was established in 2012 by the Property Council of Australia to honour the contribution of property industry entrepreneurs of outstanding imagination, energy and talent.

The induction ceremony will take place as part of the 2014 Innovation and Excellence Awards, to be held at The Star Event Centre in Sydney on Saturday 17 May.

Ervin Graf OAM

The founder of Stockland, Ervin Graf graduated in architecture before leaving his native Hungary shortly after World War II. He came to Sydney as a bricklayer and, with a small loan, started in business in 1952. Graf went public six years later by taking over the smallest company on the stock market, Stocks and Holdings. Today, Stockland is Australia’s largest diversified property group. Graf retired as Stockland’s chairman in October 2000, and died in 2002.

“Ervin saw the potential of the property market as soon as he stepped foot on Australian soil,” says Steinberg. “His achievements included opening the then tallest residential apartment building in the world outside the US, Park Regis Towers. He was also one of the first developers to build a drive-in shopping mall and bulky goods centre. One of his greatest contributions to the industry was revolutionising project funding. He introduced an internally managed property trust – a model that remains intact today.”

Bruno Grollo AO

Together with his younger brother Rino, Bruno Grollo inherited a small concreting business from their Italian immigrant father, Luigi, transforming it into one of Australia’s largest privately-owned construction empires, Grocon. Bruno took up tools on the construction site at 15, learning valuable lessons that have translated into some truly remarkable achievements. His credits include construction of the tallest buildings in Melbourne, including Rialto Towers, and in Sydney with Governor Phillip Tower.

“Bruno has a reputation as one of the smartest, toughest operators. Through hard work and technical virtuosity, he has changed city skylines and revolutionised Australia’s construction industry,” says Steinberg. “Bruno commanded tremendous loyalty from his workforce – something that is a great testament to his exceptional work ethic and practices.”

Rino Grollo

Rino Grollo continues his family’s longstanding tradition of property development in Australia. In 2000, Rino and brother Bruno divided their shares in Grocon to pursue new opportunities. Since 2000, Rino and his wife Diana have consolidated their companies and focused on the sport, education, tourism and community sectors. Rino’s son Lorenz is now managing director of the family’s construction company Equiset, while another son, Mark, manages the family’s aviation and aerospace interests. Their tourism concerns include the Mount Buller ski resort in Victoria, the Great Barrier Reef Undersea Explorer and the Ross River Resort, near Alice Springs. The couple’s biggest asset is their half-stake in Melbourne’s landmark Rialto building.

“Rino’s extraordinary contribution to our industry includes everything from local community assets to landmarks that have transformed our cities. Rino set high standards in management and service delivery, and is creating sustainable assets that are admired throughout the industry for their leadership in design, construction and environmental responsibility,” says Steinberg.

Previous Australian Property Hall of Fame Inductees

  • Dick Dusseldorp AO (2012)
  • John Gandel AO (2013)
  • Frank Lowy AC (2012)
  • Stan Perron AM (2013)
  • Sir John Pidgeon (2013)
  • Ray Powys AM (2012)

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