Hansen Investment Group Australia’s (HIGA) is one of Sydney’s fastest-growing development and construction companies. Founded by Winkie Zhang, the company is making its mark in a traditionally male dominated industry.
everexpanding property and land
acquisition portfolio and oversees
its development activities, including
project design and positioning, project proposal drafting, coordinating with authorities, stakeholders and consultants.
The Asian Executive interviewed her about her leadership philosophy and her passion for property.
Winkie’s early career began in journalism before venturing into property development. Her early years as a reporter enabled to meet with and interview Australia’s key leaders. However, her true passions lay elsewhere. “I have a family background in property development and construction in China and have always been inspired by my parents’ example. I always knew that one day I would be running my own business.” What about property development and construction did Winkie find so enthralling? “The whole process of property development and construction is so fascinating. There is so much complexity which I find mentally stimulating. You never stop learning.” One surmises that the challenge for Winkie is also to overcome the gender imbalance in the industry. “I stand proudly as one of only a handful of female executives making her mark in a male-dominated industry.”
Operating a flat management structure involving over forty full-time staff, Winkie is deeply engrossed in all facets of property development from site selection, feasibility analysis and project sales and marketing. “I spend a huge amount of my time engaging with staff and client. I stay fresh by always listening and trying to understand the heart of issues and how best to deal with different situations.” Fairness and trust is a big part of Winkie’s management philosophy. “I think of my team as an extended family with lots of personalities and lots of energy. I seek to find the best way to harness that energy into getting results.”
Her portfolio of recently recent projects includes the sold-out luxury boutique apartment complexes Breeze (Drummoyne), Sapphire (Bondi Junction), Sovereign (Silvania Waters), and Ashton Hill (Turramurra). HIGA’s latest landmark project in Yurong Street, East Sydney promises a curated collection of artisan residences capturing the edgy sophistication of inner Sydney life.
The leader, by his or her example, sets the tone for the company. Winkie’s frenetic energy, sense of fun and fashion elevates the mood and a sense of purpose for her staff. “I respect the individual and see it my duty to ensure that everybody gets the chance to show their true potential through their dedication to the task.”
At the time of this interview (COVID-19 pandemic), staff meetings were conducted through web-cam with staff pinned down in their homes. Winkie admits it been a challenging period for her company but maintains the importance of regular communications. “I actively foster the notion that we must think like a team and act as a team.” She never stops listening and never stops asking questions. “I think it is important for the personal development of the individual never to stop questioning the ‘why’ of any situation.”
Winkie’s pursuit of excellent sites is never-ending. She has an impressive network of people who help identify opportunities for her consideration. That is not to say she rests on her laurels. “I am a very hands-on person, and I quite often travel around different locations around
Sydney to directly approach property owners of good locations.” Would Winkie consider other Australian states for expansion? “I think Sydney has so many advantages over other states in terms of its huge multicultural population base and ongoing growth rate. However, I can keep an open mind for the right kind of opportunities.”
HIGA’S EAST SYDNEY COLLECTION
HIGA has just launched its $80M new high-end development, East Sydney Collection. Offering a mix of home choices – luxurious urban lofts, generous contemporary apartments and stunning terraces –
creating beautiful spaces in a neighbourhood rich in texture and history.
East Sydney Collection’s prime location kissing the eastern edge of Hyde Park offers effortless access to the CBD while revelling in its quiet pocket away from the city’s bustle. Designed by multi-award-winning architects, MHNDU, the development features 27 lofts, apartments and terraces with two commercial spaces at ground level.
Stanley Lane Lofts delivers homes of unrivalled innercity appeal where every element tells a sophisticated story. Outside, MHNDU has sensitively reimagined the original 1930s art deco warehouse, creating a considered space that offers a beautiful canvas for living and entertaining.
Inside, Lawless & Meyerson’s interiors are inviting, thoughtful and life-enhancing. The design takes advantage of double-height spaces, exposing the warehouse’s original steel trusses for a contemporary edge. Lofts feature mezzanine spaces, soaring ceilings and classic steel-framed windows draw in abundant light while creating uniquely individual homes.
Living areas flow seamlessly, and internal ground floor winter garden provides a private outdoor room to relax. High performance, durable terrazzo floors add subtle interest and texture to the underlying neutral canvas. Chunky, crafted pure wool carpets in elegant charcoal tones add layered interest and luxury underfoot in all the bedrooms.
Superbly appointed kitchens make cooking, entertaining or simply chilling at home effortless and elegant. References to the building’s heritage are seen in the steel-framed kitchen islands that are both practical and characterful.
This beautifully-crafted story continues in the bathrooms and ensuites. Comfortable and unfussy, yet elegant, a beautiful neutral palette juxtaposes with the striking ‘wow’ factor of the textural terrazzo floors.
For those who love beauty and vibrant, cultured life, East Sydney Residences will soon be the most desirable boutique address in the inner city. HIGA’s collection warm, imaginative and inviting one, two and threebedroom homes are contemporary and timeless in spirit, bathed in natural light, and offer an oasis of modernity.
Housed within East Sydney Collection’s low-rise addition, the exterior architecture is beautifully minimalist. Its calming palette of charcoal terracotta tiles paired with white brick and pale bronze accent draws rich inspiration from the surrounding conservation area.
Inside, artful spaces let residents create their ideal living environment from excellent outdoor rooms, entertaining space, and stunning contemporary interiors. Living areas flow to generous balconies blurring the sense of indooroutdoor space. From the upper levels, delightful views take in Cook + Phillip Park, St Mary’s Cathedral, the eclectic urban streetscapes and the adjacent CBD.
For the ultimate in superbly-realised contemporary living, Hyde Park Terraces offer an exclusive collection of 3 luxury, over-scaled three-bedroom terrace homes architecturally crafted and finished to the most exacting standards.
Each terrace features a landscaped courtyard that flows from an open plan living to expand lifestyle and entertainment options.
Natural light streams in from two sides, keeping the mood airy while individual street entries create a true feeling of home.
Apartments and townhouses in the East Sydney Collection feature engineered European Oak floors throughout and luxury wool-loop carpets in bedrooms. Shinnoki ‘Stone Triba’ veneer panels form the kitchen joinery with both bathrooms and kitchens showcasing superb Silver Adana Limestone marble slabs.
For discerning owner-occupiers, Hyde Park Terraces have generous floor plates and features such as separate laundries, versatile study areas, plentiful storage and secure parking. Each apartment is crafted to exceed expectations of quality and originality.
The East Sydney Collection is a rare chance to be part of a culturally rich neighbourhood that continuously reinvents itself and blooms. From an intimate bar around the corner to elegant hatted restaurants and Sydney’s most cherished gardens and parks, the precinct is diverse and effervescent.
Long a favourite haunt for the creative set, prominent business personalities and city professionals, lace-clad terraces, grand mansions and modernist apartment buildings are homes and headquarters for filmmakers and entrepreneurs. Its laneways and corners host an eclectic brew of café culture, dining, stylish small bars, galleries and designer stores, unmatched anywhere else in Sydney.
For easy everyday life, grocery stores and fitness centres are all within easy walking distance from the East Sydney Collection’s doorstep. Luxury shoppers will also love the proximity to iconic labels such as Hermes, Chanel, Acne and more.
For relaxation, Boy Charlton Pool, the Art Gallery of NSW, Cook + Phillip Park, and the Hyde and Royal Botanic Gardens are all nearby. At the same time, the bustling temptations and commercial hubs of Sydney’s CBD are never more than a stroll away.
The East Sydney Collection will commence construction
August 2020 with completion in 18 months.