A breeze with Chinese money

The Breeze apartment development at Drummoyne is one of many new Chinese investments.China is a key driver of the Australian resources boom, and it’s becoming an increasingly important player in quality apartment development in Sydney.
Shanghai night field

Chinese investors are involved in at least eight large projects in the city and suburbs, and indications are we haven’t seen anything yet.

”We’re definitely seeing more and more all the time,” says the chief executive of Urban Taskforce Australia, Chris Johnson. ”There are a lot of people in China who are interested in investing in Australia, and a particular favoured model is to invest in apartments, which they are used to back home.”

Among the new high-profile developments with Chinese interests are the 270-unit The Quay in Haymarket, the 95-unit Jasmine on the Park at Botany, the 15-storey The Castlereagh overlooking Hyde Park, the 12-storey Futra in Mascot, the boutique 11-apartment Breeze in Drummoyne, the 20-townhouse Sovereign at Sylvania and the Gateway at Kingsgrove.

Johnson says there are several reasons for the Chinese investment in Sydney. The Chinese government is slowing construction in that country, Australia is one of only seven countries to hold a AAA rating by credit agency Standard & Poor’s and the Sydney residential market is seen as stable with some growth in the offing.

Easing the visa requirements for foreign investors has helped, and several Australian companies are happy to become involved in joint ventures.

”We will see this more over the next three to five years,” says an Australian architect with PSEC project services, Eric Chan, who often works with Chinese developers. ”The newcomers are developers in China looking to expand their business, enterprise owners in China moving into development in Australia, or investment groups that get together to work on projects.”

But while the projects are Chinese-developed, Chan says, they use Australian builders, usually Australian architects – who have a great reputation after their work on the Beijing Olympics – and often have Australian partners and Australian consultants. Australian banks help them prepare packages, and they may have companies registered in Australia.

The investors are sound financially, Johnson says – either high-net-worth individuals or companies with huge assets. ”After all, China is currently helping to prop up the world,” he says.

Good locations and great quality are usually priorities to build a reputation here. ”Quality is very important,” says the managing director of Lenland, Benny Deng, who is working on The Castlereagh. ”That’s why most of our buyers are local customers.”

Architect Tony Owen, who designed Breeze for Chinese developer QY Group, as well as Sovereign and The Castlereagh, says that’s certainly been his experience.

”They want a good brand name, so they’re ready to really press for the kind of quality local developers might be more hesitant about, worried they might not get their money back,” Owen says. ”With Breeze, for instance, they’re designed with wide frontages right on the harbour, beautiful kitchens and spectacular open bathrooms.”

Agent Craig Moore agrees. ”Breeze has marble floors, timber feature walls, timber louvres and lots of beautiful stone,” he says.

Buyers can always ask for any developer’s capability documents, says Moore, which show previous work and experience. ”Some of these Chinese companies have been developing hundreds, sometimes thousands, of apartments in China, so they’re very specialised.”

Breeze apartments range from 174-301 sq m internally, with external spaces from 20-95 sq m and panoramic views. Prices from $2,464,000 to $3,383,000, breezeliving上海夜网m.au, phone 0409 225 959.City vibe seals it

When Jessica Kim and her husband, Soon Kweon Lee, were looking for an apartment to buy, their focus was on a city location and a quality build. Chinese developer Lenland’s The Castlereagh, due for completion in 2015, satisfied both criteria.

“We were really impressed by the quality of what they’re planning,” says Kim, 37, a quantitative manager at a bank. “There are timber floors and the design is good, and it’s all very well organised.

“We also liked the location. We’ve been living in the north-west suburbs but it’s so far from everything, and this means we’ll be very close to work and everything Sydney has to offer.”

Kim and Lee, 38, a bridge design engineer, have bought a two-bedroom apartment on the 10th floor of The Castlereagh, with views of Hyde Park. Two-bedders in the tower start at $820,000.

Originally from South Korea, the couple say they’re used to apartment living. “Originally we wanted a more famous and well-known developer so we could be sure they were good,” Kim says.

“But we think this developer is really good. We looked at everything closely, and I have good instincts about it.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Oprah gets her payday

Tune in to our live blog of part 2 of Armstrong’s interview at 12.30pm
Shanghai night field

Whether disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong’s plea for clemency in the court of public opinion delivers the desired outcome remains to be seen. But after yesterday’s exclusive tête-à-tête between Armstrong and America’s talk show queen Oprah Winfrey one thing is certain: Oprah got her payday.

The interview drew an audience in America of 4.3 million viewers. The figure of 4.3 million includes 3.2 million who tuned into the first broadcast of the interview. An additional 1.1 million watched later repeats of it.

Stitching together same-day repeats to create a total audience is a slightly unscientific method for measuring ratings, but is gives a reasonable indication of the audience volume. Australian ratings are not yet available.

As a single program it falls short of the OWN channel’s record-setting broadcast: last year’s conversation between Winfrey and the family of Whitney Houston. That broadcast drew 3.5 million viewers to its first screening.

While the numbers seem big, they are not Winfrey’s career best, illustrating the changed universe now that she has retired from network TV and opened shop on “basic cable”.

Her network talkie The Oprah Winfrey Show could draw more than 10 million viewers to a blue-chip interview. Her 1993 interview with Michael Jackson, which was aired as a prime-time special, drew 62 million viewers.

Oprah’s network OWN, a joint venture with the Discovery Channel, has struggled to make its mark in the multichannel space and, to some extent, depends on blue-chip interviews to deliver the sort of ratings spikes that will keep the channel on air.

The interview was also streamed worldwide via Oprah上海夜网m. An OWN spokeswoman said said today the website played “a couple” of hundred thousand streams.

The second part airs Saturday, Australian time. Stay tuned to this website as we blog the interview live from 12.30pm.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Frequent Flyer : Anthony Lark

This Thai island resort manager seeks big-city bustle abroad.
Shanghai night field

Q What’s new at your resort, Trisara?

A Our seafood restaurant, set right on the beach. It’s similar to the nicer seafront restaurants on Capri or St-Tropez.

Q You founded the resort more than a decade ago. How do you keep it interesting?

A  A small, exclusive resort like this is never boring. Each day new guests arrive, each bringing different needs. The property has 16 hectares of jungle above a private bay, so just the landscaping alone is a full-time job.

We have 500 employees and 30 privately owned residences. Between the owners, their guests, the hotel guests and tropical weather, there is no downtime. I’m lucky as I live next door, so even when days are long, I get to see the family a lot.

Q Do you often get home to Sydney?

A  At least a couple of times a year. I’m always there in April to march with dad’s 460 Squadron RAAF on Anzac Day. I love it.

Q How often do you travel elsewhere?

A To Europe at least twice a year, and we take a family holiday in July-August.

Q Where do you holiday?

A I love big bustling cities, no palm trees, and I love feisty taxi drivers so London, New York or Hong Kong. I like to be able to take the kids to shows, theatre and see contrasts to our life. We went to Queenstown, New Zealand, in July and had a wonderful week of freezing and skiing.

Q What do you think makes for good airline service?

A It’s all about recognition: passengers and guests want to feel special and welcomed.

Q Who do you fly with?

A Qantas. I like the in-flight entertainment. I also like Neil Perry’s food. Neil worked with us when we opened Trisara, and our chef has worked at Rockpool in Sydney, to get a feel for the simple, beautiful way Neil presents food and his commitment to great produce.

Q A cabin baggage essential?

A Headphones. I love my Bowers & Wilkins.

Q Have interesting guests given you advice?

A Henry Kissinger used to stay with us. I asked, “How was your flight, Dr Kissinger?” His reply: “Have you ever flown, Anthony?” I said, “Yes,” and he said, “Well, it was just like that. The plane took off, we flew awhile and then it landed.” Keep things simple.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Stranded yachtsman missing in Tasmanian seas

Australian authorities are coordinating the rescue of a solo round-the-world yachtsman who has become stranded in seas south-west of Tasmania.
Shanghai night field

On Friday night, Alain Deloard had abandoned his damaged yacht and was in a life raft, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority confirmed on Saturday morning.

A civilian aircraft, the Dornier, had dropped supplies including a raft to the veteran sailor and was due to return to the scene on Saturday, along with two other aircraft, to re-establish communications with him. A cruise liner in the Southern Ocean has diverted its course for Antarctica to assist in the rescue.

On Friday, the MV Orion received the request from AMSA to respond to an emergency positioning beacon approximately 380 nautical miles south of Hobart.

The Orion is due to reach the beacon on Sunday evening.

“There has been no further communication with the yacht since the emergency beacon was activated,” said Orion’s expedition leader Don McIntyre. “From that it appears he may have sent the call after his yacht was dismasted, so there are serious concerns for his safety.

The beacon is registered to Tchouk Tchouk Noguat, a 10.6-metre fiberglass yacht being skippered by the 63-year-old Deloard, who has 17 trans-Atlantic voyages under his belt.

Deloard, who has been at sea for several months, uploaded his last blog on his website on January 17 while plotting a course through severe winds measuring 40 knots and 10 metre seas. “The winds will continue to turn towards the west and will get stronger,” Deloard wrote. “The wind has not reached its limited forecast.”

When it received the distress call, the Orion was en route from the coast of East Antarctica to Macquarie Island.

The ship is carrying 91 passengers, many of them Australians, who despite missing out on some of their expedition were happy to assist with the rescue effort.

“I’ve been involved with volunteer marine rescue in Queensland and the training that you get makes you fully understand the importance of safety of life at sea,” said Ross Evans. “We are disappointed we are not going to Macquarie [Island] but human life is much more important.”

Doug Lambert, of Perth, agreed: “It’s a no-brainer as afar as I am concerned. There is a guy in the water. It’s a matter of human life – a moral issue – not just an issue of the law of the sea.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Star and car: Diesel

Musician Johnny Diesel and his Audi A3.The Low-down: Born in Massachusetts, US, Diesel (aka Mark Lizotte) emigrated to Australia in 1971, ultimately achieving national fame in the late ’80s as frontman for Johnny Diesel and the Injectors.
Shanghai night field

Career Highlights: hit songs including Love Junk, Tip of My Tongue, Never Miss Your Water, 15 Feet of Snow, Dig and Crazytown; winning six ARIA awards, including best male artist in 1992, 1993 and 1995, and best album (Hepfidelity) in 1992.

Upcoming project: The Velvet Curtain Tour, commencing in February. Visit www.dieselmusic上海夜网m.au for dates.

Your first set of wheels: what was it?

It was an HT Holden Premier that I bought for $200. It was a real death-trap. It’s amazing I survived. At the time I didn’t think I could afford a car, and I couldn’t.

What’s been your biggest car-related regret?

Selling the first project car I’d ever owned before we moved to New York. It was a ’65 Valiant, very rare actually, and I’d only just got it sorted, really humming along. It had a small body, little bucket seats, really cool trim inside, two-tone steering wheel, and a 308 V8. If I’d had any foresight I would have just put it on blocks and warehoused it.

So it’s fair to say you’re a serious car enthusiast?

Definitely. A few times I’ve even fixed a few things on cars, where I’ve gone onto the internet and lo and behold there’s been instructions for everything. Once I had a Honda Prelude that just blew up, the radiator and gasket. It looked like a mess, but I thought, ‘you know what? I’m going to see if I can’t sort this out’. So I went and got the part, read all these blogs, and actually fixed it.

What was your transport situation like in New York?

We ended up in SoHo, right near the subway, Prince Street Station, and realised very early that we weren’t going to need a car. I became a pedestrian. I had my bike. I had my skates, my scooter – all these different modes. It depended on how far I was going and what the weather was like. And then when we needed a car I’d just walk up to 14th Street and rent some ridiculous Lincoln Navigator that could fit like 20 people in it. Then we’d give it back – no responsibilities, no mechanics to deal with, no on-road costs, no NRMA. Not owning a car was really liberating.

What have you got now?

An Audi A3 hatch. It’s a turbo diesel and it surprises me sometimes. It’s good to have when you need to get out of the way in a hurry. I like the low centre of gravity. It’s wide, and it really hugs the road. I can also get all my gear in if I need to get to a rehearsal or something.

So Diesel drives a diesel?

Yeah I know, it’s pretty funny. The diesel thing’s become quite common now, but a few years ago people would ask me at traffic lights, ‘what’s that diesel like?’ And then they’d recognise me and have a bit of a chuckle.

Vital statistics

The number of kilometres I get from a tank of diesel – 900

The age I got my licence – 25

Car lover gauge – 5

For more car reviews, video and news download the free Drive app. It updates every Friday with seven pages of fresh content from the Drive team. Like Drive上海夜网m.au on Facebook Follow Drive上海夜网m.au on Twitter @DrivecomauAdd drive上海夜网m.au to your circles on Google+

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.