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Site reading with Peter Lechte

Site reading with Peter Lechte

For over 25 years the name Lechte has been at the forefront of inspired apartments. Lechte’s refined approach to securing sites with unparalleled prospects is a sophisticated hybrid of experience and intuition, honed through Co-founder and Director Peter Lechte’s 40 years of experience in property.

What do you look for when searching for a Lechte site?

Location, location, location. We exclusively look in places we believe are set for growth, or have already achieved a degree of renewal which we believe the Lechte brand would enhance. I’ve been in property for over 40 years now, in that time I’ve been privileged to work with leaders who have helped sharpen my ability to spot a unique site that sparks interest in seconds.

From the outset we had a clear vision of who we were as a developer. We’ve never looked at other developers and tried to mimic their movements in the industry. For Lechte it’s always proved more exciting, and ultimately rewarding, to pursue areas and sites that aren’t on the radar as yet and bring our ethos and culture there.

How long is your due diligence process?

End to end, it could be anything up to about four years. There’s looking at the site, evaluation, doing the feasibility, the purchasing process. Then there’s planning approval which takes another year, selling the apartments and then you’ve got to build it. Development is a bit like the RMS Queen Mary – it takes a long time to turn around!

What percentage of prospective sites do you kill, and why don’t they pass the Lechte test?

Majority of them. In a viewing of 20 sites, you’d be lucky to see one pass the bar. Every site we’ve gone ahead with, I’ve had a gut feeling about. It’s intuition. It’s a form of muscle memory that’s been strengthened over decades of seeking out the best.

Once that gut feeling sets in we put the site through our feasibility scale. We interrogate every aspect of how that site is going to perform for our purchasers. How is it going to enrich an area’s local character, and how could it set the tone for an emerging area?

A Lechte site has to pass that process at the highest standard. You can think you’ve got the perfect site, but it’ll never work unless you’ve tested its mettle.

How important is it for you that a site delivers on Lechte’s brand?

It’s paramount. We’ve never adapted what we do to suit a location, instead we always lift the character of the area by bringing what we do best to it. We’ve done it time and again in locations like Abbotsford, St Kilda, Clayton and Elsternwick. We create inspiring spaces that become the backdrop to people’s lives. Having that person, our purchaser, in mind right from the start means we get the right location for the right people.

It doesn’t have to be the biggest site in the world either. We want to create landmark developments that elevate a local area, not overpower it. We want the people who engage with the building on a daily basis to appreciate the internal amenity, not just the architecture of our buildings.

Can you tell me about one that has excelled in delivering on your brand doing so?

The Eminence in Carlton. That has been a terrific project for us. We’ve had countless conversations with purchasers who say that living in The Eminence is one of the best things they’ve ever done.

Good sites like that are hard to find, but when you get them, and partner with visionary architects like SJB,Plus, and Fender Katsalidis like we do, you have the opportunity to change the entire character of an area.

Carlton’s a better place for The Eminence being there, and for the community that has made our dream their daily reality.