Pitman Properties is a fully integrated property development business backed by more 40 years of experience in their region. Over those years, the company has developed a proven reputation for delivering end-to-end development and construction solutions across a broad range of sectors. Their portfolio has grown to consist of multi-unit residential projects, commercial buildings, motels, and more.
“Today, our pipeline of projects for 2014 is escalating close to 200 dwellings per year. This includes 81 townhouses, five multi-unit dwelling projects in the planning stages with two due for completion by June,” says Development Manager Hollie Layton.
Hollie herself has grown up around the construction industry, as her father was a Developer-Builder. Frequently, he would lead her around his construction projects when she was younger, which was when her passion for the industry took hold. She started her career as an Urban Designer and Town Planner, and then progressed into Project Management roles.
Recently, Hollie managed Pitman Properties’ acclaimed Garrison 14 project – a heritage-listed building in Annerley, Queensland, which Pitman transformed into a luxury apartment development.
Hollie describes the site of Garrison 14 as “historically compelling,” as it was originally designed as a military training depot for the Australian Defence Force. Paul Pitman – the eponymous founder and Director of Pitman Properties – discovered the rich history of the site after being introduced to the land through a real estate agent. According to Hollie, that knowledge set the scene for the whole project.
“Garrison 14 was one of 10 barracks that were constructed in Brisbane around 1954,” she explains. “But the history dates back even further – in 1914, the local Mayor generously sold the land to the Australian government for military training purposes. That history is pretty significant from a local and National level.”
One of Pitman Properties’ main objectives for every project is to honour the original owners and land users of their properties. That focus inspired Pitman’s to create something very unique with Garrison 14. It drove the building process to showcase a variety of visible historic elements, including the structural steel portal frame, the original and recycled hardwood timber flooring, and the reuse of the cavity brick structure.
That focus also led to commissioning an oil canvas painting titled ‘On Parade,’ in remembrance of the men and women who trained on the grounds. That painting was then transformed into a large scale tiled mosaic that covers the length of the wet wall by the apartment’s infinity edge swimming pool.
On top of that, history also influenced the project’s name. A “garrison” signifies a place of military remembrance, and the numeral 14 comes from the year the original subdivision was granted to the military by the local mayor.
“It’s very important to us that our projects capture the essence of the places they’re in,” Hollie reiterates. “We want the projects to be unique and distinctive to their areas.”
To achieve that aim with Garrison 14, Pitman Properties fostered relationships with the local community, with the council assessment team, and with local businesses. Not only did they have local knowledge to share, but many of them also had emotional ties to the site. So they were happy to be involved – which is not something most developers would allow or encourage.
“We had a variety of stakeholders that we worked with throughout the entire process, so we could really understand what had really taken place over time in the area,” Hollie says. “That was informative for the project and it wonderful to get to know our neighbours.”
Garrison 14 is a historically significant project that truly respects its heritage. At the same time, however, the building is also attractive to modern-day residents. In addition to the heritage character features, the luxury dwellings also include quality finishes, and were designed to “attend to everyday comfort.” From the start, Hollie says the company’s vision for the building was to “lend a glimpse into the past, but while still offering modern character and convenience.”
With the finished project, Pitman Properties successfully realised that vision – and their hard work did not go unrecognised. Throughout its construction, Garrison 14 was covered in publications such as the Courier Mail and local Quest Papers, and was featured on the radio and online project management forum, PM-Now. Also, at the 2013 UDIA Awards for Excellence, the project was nominated as a finalist in the Urban Renewal category.
“We’re very proud of that,” Hollie says of the recognition. “We were really excited to be one of three finalists at the UDIA, and we were excited to get recognition within the industry.”
“The project was executed how it should have been executed,” she adds. “And it should be recognised in the community for its historical value. We really feel like we instilled a historical footprint on the site within a modern building and delivered a really great project.”
Hollie mainly credits the success of the project to its historical foundations and the foresight to the Director of Pitman Properties, Paul Pitman.
“Forward thinking is Paul’s key strength and success,” she says. “He envisaged from the bones of the project a combination of old uniting with new.”
Hollie also says the Architects and Francis White Constructions deserve a lot of credit. They both brought a lot of experience to the table, which helped them navigate the inherent complexities of a heritage project. They also both embraced Pitman’s vision, and dedicated themselves to achieving an end-result that would respect the site’s history while still being appealing for residents and community.
“The combined historical insight, construction knowledge and ability helped us find practical solutions that worked on site, and that made the project unique,” Hollie says. “I feel that’s one of the reasons the project was so successful.”
Major Ashley Walker, who opened the project with Councillor Vicky Howard, also provided a personal insight into the use of the land which was treasured at the official opening.