A Property Empire Wasn’t Built in a Day

By: Gibraltar Property Consultants  13-Apr-2011
Keywords: Property Investment, Investment Property, Commercial Real Estate


PROPERTY empire builder Ronald Serry is doing what he does best, looking for deals on and off market on behalf of some seriously cashed up investors.

and are Directors of Melbourne based , established in November last year, the and advisory firm is not a fee driven platform and instead seeks to co-invest with .

Serry has partnered with the late Ezriel Rabinowicz (Rabinov), his mentor, since 1980s when they built a supermarket portfolio and on sold it, in 1994, to the relatively “unknown” new kid on the block -turn-bank for $120 million. That portfolio would later become , which is now the .

Shortly after, the duo bought a portfolio of commercial properties and flicked that off to GE Real Estate, which used it as its Australian platform. Later they launched the on the – sold the management to the – bought it back from the ANZ – and the trust is now in merger talks with .

Serry spoke to Property Review and recounted the Macquarie deal. He said in the early 1990s Macquarie was virtually unknown and when the deal was made, Macquarie asked Rabinov to initially lend $25 million to fund the acquisition.

“Nobody knew who they were and when they went to raise the capital, they didn’t have enough. They funded $50 million through first mortgages, borrowed $25 million from us and they came back to us and asked us, “Can you subscribe to $25 million worth of securities?” and we did.

“And then we witnessed the rise and fall of the trust, when it went offshore,” he added.

Now, Serry is managing the Rabinov estate for a “passive” future and he set up Gibraltar to assist and re-educate investors.

“The events of the GFC and the implosion of many unlisted and listed REIT’s have left an unjust stigma on commercial property investment. How many fund managers have we heard in the last 18-24 months tell us they’re “getting back to the basics”?

“The truth is that if many did stick to fundamentals and avoided the typical traps of over financial engineering and acquiring B and C grade assets for the sake of management fees, mums and dads would still be receiving their quarterly cheques,” he added.

“When the GFC hit these fund managers were up the creek without a paddle,” he continued.

As well as act as a co-investor, Gibraltar is also a facilitator of deals, having negotiated the $75 million Woolworths Distribution Centre in Launceston on behalf of the ; the $120 million GE Botannica Burnley in Melbourne and the $100 million Big W Distribution Centre in Warwick, Queensland.

And Serry said Gibraltar’s investors club is growing and looking for assets. Having said that, he added the company will not be rushed into deals.

“Gibraltar is in no hurry to acquire property. A property has to tick every box, not just most boxes for us to put our money in and recommend it to our club of investors.

“But even before we get to that stage, we want to educate property investors and ensure they go into future investments (with Gibraltar or not) with their eyes open,” he continued.

Serry told Property Review, that 99 out of 100 deals the company looks at “is rejected”.

He added that there are a lot of distress assets in the marketplace and there some very good assets which have been held back by funding, but it is only the poorer assets that have been tarnished.

Serry said the company and its clients have set no limit on the money they will spend on assets but added, Gibraltar is solely focussed in Australia.

Keywords: Buyer Advocate, Buyer Agent, Commercial Property Consultancy, Commercial Property Investor, Commercial Real Estate, Consultants, Investment Property, Private Property Syndicate, Property Consultant, Property Investment, Property Syndicates, Property Syndication, Real Estate Investments,

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Former Rabinov Managing Director sticking to the Fundamentals.

Mr Ronald Serry , a lawyer of over 25 years with the former law firm, Jack Cohen & Serry has represented and co-invested with some of Australia’s most revered and admired property investors, including most notably the late Mr Ezriel Rabinowicz (“Rabinov”).