Businessman and philanthropist Paul Little AO will sell the remaining portion he controls of his property development business, Little Projects, to existing directors Paris Lechte and Leighton Pyke (pictured together, left).
But it will be business as usual said the company which has been building on some sites, and flipping others, since establishing as part of the Little Group, which was formed in 2006.
Often reported as Paul Little’s development arm – Little Projects has more than once approached the owners of sites which are not for public sale, with a proposal to joint venture an apartment or townhouse complex, and share profits.
Four months ago, we reported that it was proposing to co-develop a seven-level apartment complex with the owner of a single-storey red brick warehouse opposite the Grattan Gardens near the Prahran Market. The site, 17-22 Grattan Street, was not for sale.
“I am very confident that Paris and Leighton will maintain the strong momentum in the Little Projects business,” said Paul Little.
The firm would still be keen to invest in the property development sector via Little Projects where strategic benchmarks were met, he added.
‘’Both Leighton and I have a clear vision to carry on Paul’s legacy of award-winning, quality developments across Australia and New Zealand,’’ said Mr Lechte.
The restructure will not affect ownership and delivery of the current project pipeline in any way and Mr Little will remain an advisor of Little Projects and invest in its projects, he added.
“Little Projects will continue to be a trusted development partner with a strong reputation for reliable project delivery,” said Leighton Pyke.
‘’Moving forward, we will continue to build on development pursuits, with our passion for creating homes and communities with joint venture partnerships opening up greater opportunities for us,’’
Little Projects has built more than 2000 apartments and townhouses in inner-Melbourne.
One of its highest profile developments is in East Brunswick, when four years ago it completed the construction of dwellings within and above a restored piece of the former Tip Top Bakery factory – a site it bought in 2010.
In 2016, the developer banked an enormous profit flipping a site in Fishermans Bend for $60 million. Little Projects paid $18.5 million for this former timber-yard in 2014 before obtaining a redevelopment permit for 940 apartments.
In 2014, Little Projects teamed with Freemasons Victoria to build townhouses on two sites in suburban Box Hill and Kew East. It has also built the ILK South Yarra and Central South Yarra towers in Melbourne’s inner south-east.
Projects in its pipeline include residential complexes in Brighton and Glen Waverley, an industrial project in partnership with Pomeroy Pacific and Melbourne’s first Hyatt Centric Hotel.
“Little Projects has enjoyed successes in commercial, land subdivision and inner-city lifestyle Developments,” the company said, adding its “core competency lies in its ability to purchase inner-city commercial and industrial sites and redevelop them into outstanding residential communities”.
In May, Mr Little and his wife, Jane Hansen, made a $30 million donation to the University of Melbourne to fund part of the construction of Little Hall, a residential complex able to accommodate 669 students.
It would also pay to provide the Hansen Scholarship to some 60 students per annum. These scholarships are reportedly worth $24,000 per annum each.
This week it was reported by the AFR in this item Mr Little was amongst a mix of investors to be backing a start-up funding and development program, Skalata Ventures.