Q & A with Luxcon Group Managing Director Ilya Melnikoff

With over two decades in the industry, a family bloodline in property development and an acting career under his belt, we thought we would share a few questions that we asked Managing Director Ilya Melnikoff to help you get to know him and his vision of Luxcon a little better. Luxcon Brand Development Manager Tianna Butterworth sat down to ask him a few questions about where Luxcon began, where it is headed and what is driving him to get there.

 

 

TIANNA: So how long have you been involved in the Property Industry now?

ILYA: Just over 20 years all up

TIANNA: And what was it that got you started in the industry?

ILYA: When I finished school, my family had only been in Australia for around 4 years and my mother was working in property management for Meriton Apartments at the time, so I used to assist her on inspections and I was exposed to the business from a young age.

I then wanted to buy a car after finishing school so my mother said if I went and completed my real estate licence and earn some qualifications she would help me buy it. I never wanted to go to university because I wanted to be an actor, my mind was always working in some form of creative direction and I wasn’t great at sitting and studying for very long. So, I thought I could combine my Real Estate studies with my acting classes, get a car and some qualifications at the same time. It worked out perfectly as after one year of study, I was able to spend the next few years working for a couple of different city based real estates in their property management department and then move into sales before joining Meriton where my mum still worked at the time. It was at Meriton where I learned to really enjoy the Development side of the business because of its incredible diversity and multifaceted approaches to Real Estate and the ability to create something from nothing. In total, I spent on and off about 10 years between working for Meriton, my travels, living in the USA and working for Meriton again where my final role was as a land buyer which was incredible learning process in how to pick the right sites in order to create successful developments.

Towards the end I felt that I really wanted to apply what I had learned there and create my own brand with a point of difference. Through sales commissions between myself and my mother we saved enough to secure a site in Neutral Bay and this was our first and very successful project despite that it commenced in the heart of GFC.

TIANNA: Why Luxcon?

ILYA: When I was thinking of a name for my own company I wanted it to be something that would be interpreted simply with the concept of Luxury. In the long run, Luxcon won’t be just apartments but a lifestyle that we create through the projects, hotels and commercial spaces etc. I think of it as a Global Luxury Concept.

TIANNA: Where do you see Luxcon in 10 Years?

ILYA: I see Luxcon building at least 500 units a year with each project being completely unique from the last. We have a great team in our office and we work with some amazing partners to consistently create exciting and creative projects providing our purchasers and residents with their very own piece of luxury living along with five star amenities right in their building.

 

TIANNA: What is your biggest professional accomplishment to date?

ILYA: Rather than a single event, I feel it’s the entire journey, the company has grown to and the projects we have completed in relatively short time of 9 years, considering the length of the Sydney planning processes and how long it takes for projects to get off the ground. There are times of stress, but I constantly feel a great accomplishment thinking about every single project and how they managed to come from planning every little corner to seeing the building up and being lived in. It is incredibly satisfying.

TIANNA: Who inspires you most in the property industry?

ILYA: Definitely my mentor – Harry Triguboff. I think his instincts and what he has done with Meriton single handedly and only out of only 2 cities in our country, arguably is not only unrepeatable in Australia’s property industry but probably on a global per capita scale. Working with him for many years taught me a tremendous amount of principles and helped me develop my instincts for this business.

TIANNA: What inspires you through the site acquisition and planning process?

ILYA: I always enjoyed looking at sites and imagine creating a building that’s a work of art, that suits the neighbourhood and its surroundings. Because I spent many years in sales I feel like I know what people want and always look from the eyes of a buyer in my building. That has always been the approach I try to take when choosing a site in great location right through to what kind of fittings and finishes go into it. I think it’s an incredibly interesting and rewarding process because then when its finished you can see your imagination come to life and know what worked and what didn’t.

TIANNA: What is the biggest challenge you face as a developer in the industry?

ILYA: Definitely the red tape and short-sightedness of the government process in NSW in particular. I think we could have so much more freedom of expression in architecture and quality if the processes hadn’t been designed to be so restrictive and subjective for developers forcing them to cut corners in so many areas that make this business so great.

TIANNA: What advice would you give to people looking to invest into property? 

ILYA: Don’t be afraid to make that first step. This is one of the biggest single tangible assets out there that will always grow. It doesn’t matter when you buy, whether the market is momentarily bad or hot. If you buy and hold on it will always make you money in the long term. When I was selling my first units for Meriton for $150k in South Sydney, people were coming to the sales office complaining about how expensive it was and asking how long this will go on for. These people now getting over $1m now.  So, the truth is you will never lose if you have a long-term outlook.