'Mr. Geocon' Nick Georgalis on Canberra future
His name has become so synonymous with the Canberra property empire he's built that it's understandable when the MC slips up as she introduces Nick Georgalis.
"Nick Geo-," she says, catching the mistake just in time. "Nick Georgalis."
Mr Georgalis approaches the microphone, looks out at the crowd gathered to mark the launch of the Tryst high-rise apartment complex and a sales centre that looks more like a luxury car dealer's showroom, and grins.
"Mr Geocon," he quips, to laughter from the crowd. "That's alright, I'm used to being called that."
In the boardroom at Geocon's Fyshwick headquarters a week later, the company's founder and managing director speaks with the same confidence and exuberance with which he charms a room full of clients and VIPs.
He answers questions without a moment's hesitation and puts forward a passionate pitch for his home city when he sits down with the Sunday Canberra Times to discuss his role in leading Geocon to become the dominant player in the capital's housing market.
The born and bred Canberran is a fast talker and a natural salesman, keen to talk up the role Geocon is playing in transforming not only the city's skyline, but its mentality.
"[Canberra has] grown from a city where people wanted to move away to a city that people want to move to," Mr Georgalis says.
"Canberra’s always had a problem attracting people to it because it didn’t come with a lifestyle. Now, that changes."
Mr Georgalis started Geocon in 2007, initially building freestanding homes in the Canberra suburbs. Since then it has become a multi-unit specialist and is now ranked the fourth-largest residential multi-unit builder/developer in Australia.
The company has an annual turnover of more than $400 million and more than 250 staff helping deliver its bulging portfolio of hotels and most notably, high-rise complexes dominated by apartments.
But the company's most ambitious projects, like the $1 billion Belconnen Republic precinct that will include Canberra's tallest building, a 113-metre tall residential tower, are still to come. Mr Georgalis says Geocon will start work on more than 2000 units this financial year, ramping up from 906 in 2017-18.