Michael McCormack: Milieu Property’s co-founder on building design-led apartments

Michael McCormack

Michael McCormack

If you’re interested in how good design can bring joy to apartment living, you need to meet Michael McCormack.

He’s co-founder of Melbourne real estate developer, Milieu Property.

Started ten years ago, the business has developed a reputation for crafting beautifully conceived apartments.

And a cult-like following amongst the creatives who typically own (and occupy) them.

Not surprisingly, Milieu’s engaging buildings have also won a string of important architecture and design awards.

Property development aside, Milieu has also joined Melbourne’s buzzy hospitality scene by opening a collection of celebrated restaurants, cafes and bars.

In today’s interview, Michael shares with you how he creates places – and experiences – people love.

And how he makes money along the way.

Listen now and you’ll learn:

  • Why he likes developing apartments.
  • How he uncovers what his customers want.
  • How he acquires the right sites.
  • Why he collaborates with a variety of capital providers, architects and interior designers.
  • How he selects companies to construct his buildings.
  • How his sales and marketing system works.
  • Why he set up a hospitality division.
  • What’s next for apartment living in a post-Covid world.
  • And MUCH more…

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts – or right below:

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Time stamps for topics in this episode:

  • 0:00| Intro.
  • 1.04| How Michael became interested in the built environment.
  • 2:17| How he started life as a carpenter – then went to university where he obtained a Masters degree in Construction Management. And a Bachelor of Laws degree.
  • 6:06| How he worked for other property developers before launching Milieu.
  • 8:00| Why he prefers building homes for owner-occupiers (rather than for investors).
  • 9:10| How he launched Milieu to solve his own housing problem.
  • 10:30| Who his target customer is.
  • 11:30| Why he chose to start by developing apartments in north Melbourne.
  • 12:25| How many developments they’ve completed.
  • 13:10| How the ownership of his business is structured.
  • 14:00| What kind of person buys a Milieu apartment.
  • 15:47| How he uses market research to understand what potential buyers want.
  • 19:30| What role community plays within his properties.
  • 20:55| Why his developments have few common amenities.
  • 21:55| How he finds development sites.
  • 23:52| How he decides what kind of building to erect on a site.
  • 26:17| Why he likes partnering with third party capital providers, architects and designers.
  • 30:25| Who does his construction work (and why it’s changed over time)
  • 34:40| Why Milieu operates restaurants, cafes and bars.
  • 38:00| How Milieu builds awareness of its developments amongst potential buyers (in-detail).
  • 43:50| How his sales process works (in-detail)
  • 55:35| How existing owners of Milieu apartments typically sell into the secondary market
  • 56:35| Why he stays in touch with people who’ve already bought a Milieu apartment.
  • 58:25| How feedback from past buyers informs his future developments.
  • 1:00:00| How Covid is shaping trends in buyer demand (including where people now want to live and what kind of accommodation they want).

Milieu Property sites:

One Wilson Avenue

One Wilson Avenue


Peel

Peel


Peel interior

Peel interior


Bedford

Bedford


Nth FITZROY

Nth FITZROY


Nth FITZROY

Nth FITZROY


120 Campbell Street

120 Campbell Street


120 Campbell Street

120 Campbell Street


Lagotto

Lagotto


Congress

Congress


Congress

Congress

Related links

Milieu Property:

Milieu Hospitality:

Congress

Lagotto

Future Future

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