“It’s all in the details” – Tim Forrester, ARIA and Ironfish

A message from our CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou.

Many of our investors have had the pleasure of meeting Tim Forrester, CEO of ARIA Property Group, this week in our offices, or will have the pleasure of meeting Tim in the next few weeks as he unveils ARIA’s latest stunning project: The Standard.

But for those of you who haven’t been able to come in and meet Tim face to face and get to know the remarkable individual and businessman that he is, I thought it would be an appropriate time to reflect on the man behind so many award-winning developments. And why we enjoy such a great partnership.

Our shared values

Ironfish has been working with ARIA for about 7 years now. When our partnership was just beginning, Tim took the step of reaching out and making a genuine effort to get to know me – believing that in business, it’s important for top people to be aligned in values.

property investment brisbane ARIA Ironfish Tim Forrester Joseph Chou

He invited me to attend the Australian Open semi-finals with him, and we spent two days talking about our vision, and aspirations in business. We quickly discovered we had a shared mission to build a long-lasting business, to leave a legacy behind that our families would be proud of, and a platform that our staff could continue to grow within and our investors could rely on. He was clearly a man who was passionate about his product and aspired to be the best in what he did – something that rang very close to home!

What struck me most in my first meetings with Tim was how incredibly low key and down-to-earth he is, particularly when you consider his father built one of the largest publicly listed property development companies in Australia.

But from his dad, Tim clearly gained a very strong work ethic; he was always encouraged to earn his own living – at 15 years of age, he was tasked with collecting rent from his father’s commercial property and by 19 he had begun his career in property development.

In the beginning

The very first ARIA development we introduced to our investors was ‘Austin.’ At the time, we already recognised that ARIA product was unique in the market. Not only in terms of design, attention to detail and quality, but also in terms of ARIA’s investment into beautifying and activating the surrounding areas of their developments – such as the transformation of ‘Fish Lane.’

Tim also employs the strategy of holding onto the downstairs retail in ARIA’s buildings; he contributes to fit-outs and entices premium restaurants into the space – believing that premium downstairs retail affects the overall value of the properties.

With Austin we not only found that there were no valuation issues and rental returns were strong, but also that Austin went on to win multiple awards, not just at a state level, but also at an international level – taking out Best Residential High-Rise Development in Australia at the 2015 Asia Pacific International Property Awards.

Raising the bar

What we also learned from Austin and from Tim’s subsequent development ‘Botanica’, is that this is a man who does not rest on his laurels. He is obsessed with improving and raising the standard higher and higher. For example, with Botanica, Tim decided to alter his original plans and put in a rooftop club area for residents at a significant extra cost. His philosophy is that while you may only have paid $400K for a one-bedroom unit, when you have access to an infinity pool, expansive views, private dining areas and other designer facilities, you’ll feel like a millionaire, enjoying luxury spaces that you can invite your friends into and be proud to live in.

Aria Malcolm Turnbull

ARIA’s Botanica rooftop private dining rooms have been host to many gatherings including one with Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Since Botanica, Tim no longer sells the property management rights for his buildings either and has established ARIA Living instead. He’s even purchased back the property management rights for Botanica – so that he can ensure the building is well cared for into the future and the residents’ experience is a cut above.

A personal touch

To give you an insight into his attention to detail and commitment to improve: for a long time, Tim would actually live in one of the units in his buildings himself to truly understand the resident experience. Because only when you live in a property do you truly appreciate what’s working and what might not be working as well as it could. Only when his children came along, and it was difficult to keep moving all the time, did he stop and put down some roots. However, he continues to gain feedback from residents and puts this feedback into his next design.

Tim also organises resident events – from casual drinks on the rooftop, to free yoga – activities which help residents to get to know each other and inspire a community feel to his buildings. Tenants receive a welcome pack when they arrive, and a bottle of wine when they depart – complete with a thank you note for having stayed there. There are no details which escape his notice.

Loyalty and friendship

Over the years Tim and I have made a personal commitment to catch up a minimum of once a month, to share what we’re doing, compare insights from books we’ve read, or simply to exchange ideas and learn from each other’s experiences.

The partnership we’ve forged between Ironfish and ARIA is long-term; and a partnership I think it’s safe to say we’re both proud of.

At Ironfish, we’re committed to working exclusively with leading developers, and Tim is right up there amongst the best. We’re very excited to introduce ‘The Standard’ to our investors, and we look forward to a continuing partnership with ARIA – and also to finding out what Tim comes up with next…

Want to find out more about ‘The Standard’ or property investment in Brisbane? Contact your local branch for details or register to access our selected properties list.


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