Introducing Harrison Murray, Development Commercial Manager

How long have you worked with Investa?/ In the property industry?
I’m a relative newcomer to Investa, just over a year now, though already feel like part of the furniture. I’ve been working in property since I was 13 when I would stack bricks, mix mud and sweep slabs on my father’s construction sites. Now in a professional sense for the past 9 years – everywhere from private wealth advisory to acquisitions, Government and now development.

What has been your favourite development/project to work on and why?
The new Pitt Street South Build to Rent development. Given its an emerging asset class, and the first of its kind in the CBD, there are a number of complex issues to work through from a financial point of view; the build, operations, valuations and debt, and bringing this all together in a feasibility. It’s been an interesting piece to work through with our team and capital partner. 

Three words that best describe you?
Depends who you ask! I’d like to think energetic, resilient and resourceful.

What is the most memorable moment of your career?
As part of my Master of Real Estate Investment studies I was part of a project team that designed and project planned a small classroom in Cambodia for disadvantaged children, before travelling there for two weeks to help with the build. While not specifically a ‘career’ moment in a professional sense, it was a big part of my journey in the industry. Definitely a lesson in humility and gratitude.

What is your favourite thing about property?
The challenge. Every real estate play is like a puzzle, looking at opportunities and balancing underlying fundamentals, strategy, current market conditions, planning and design. It’s a continually changing and evolving environment, and we’re always dealing with different people. Being a part of pulling all of it together and seeing the tangible outcome is incredibly rewarding.

What is the hardest challenge you have faced in the property industry?
Bringing various (and at times conflicting) stakeholders from across government and industry together to unpack the benefits and challenges of the emerging Build-to-Rent sector, and synthesising this into a position paper as part of Governments’ consideration supporting the sector. Balancing government objectives and ideologies with industry commerciality and motives is a delicate act.

What do you do in your spare time?
Land myself in precarious situations. A group of friends and I like to find remote locations and trails to do multi-day self-supported hiking and camping. More often than not we aren’t fully prepared so it makes for some pretty interesting situations, one of which included a rescue helicopter. Otherwise I enjoy just going to the pub for a feed and looking at the menu for 20 minutes pretending I’m not going to just order a Parmi.

How has a focus on sustainability, health and well-being benefited your work experience?
I’ve been lucky enough to work at organisations that prioritise sustainability, health and well-being, and found it just allows me to operate with a clear head and manage pressure. I think the COVID lockdown period really solidified this as I started to become consciously aware of the small cumulative benefits of a well-being focused workplace that I’d taken for granted. 

What drew you toward working with Investa?
The people – I was introduced to Investa through a friend and everyone I spoke to was very friendly and switched on. I felt like it would be an environment where I’d enjoy working and could learn a lot, and it’s certainly delivered.