Gary Dempsey Development

Gary Dempsey Development

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Gary Dempsey is a Self-Made Man with an Aesthetic All His Own


Quite often in the development world companies are inherited and grown generationally from one family member to the next. It is not often you meet a successful developer who has built a company entirely from scratch, and Gary Dempsey is one of those rarities. He has not only created a fully functional and highly sought-after firm but is also a tremendously talented developer with many high-profile projects under his belt. He has consistently delivered unique and cutting-edge designs in both the residential sphere – luxury homes, high-end apartments – and in the commercial and public sectors. His unique aesthetic blends classic and modern elements and affords those lucky enough to own his creations the appeal of the pastwith the comfort and convenience of the modern.

The Blueprint

Like many in the development game, Dempsey started out as a carpenter and today this self-made man is the owner of a flourishing development company – and has gained a reputation within the business for delivering very exciting new properties in some of Perth’s most sought after ocean front and river side locations.Perth’s most affluent stay in contact with him to look at his next projects. While he has an impressive résumé of luxury homes, Dempsey’s principle focus these last few years has been in the luxury apartment market. “Ultimately the emphasis for me has been to only build in premium locations with water aspects, where I myself would be happy to live,” he says this while he gazes at the ocean from his beachside home. “Something modern and elegant, that has a real feeling of originality and quality to it, a place where people will aspire to want to live rather than something that looks like it’s been built on a tight budget – like so many of today’s apartment developments do. Units some draftee came up with before lunch,” he says with humour. Modern clean lines and tastefully creative accents produce buildings that can only be described as understated elegance. “It’s more than just concrete and paint,” he says, “and sometimes the full scope of the design may not even jump out at you immediately – it’s only after you’ve taken a bit of time do you really appreciate the full depth.”

He maintains this consistent streak of visual and financial successes by sticking to his philosophy of airtight creative and administrative control. This is always the best policy where brand consistency is concerned. “Basically I make sure I am involved in every aspect of the project – I don’t lose control and I don’t take on too many projects, which keeps me focused on the process ahead of me,” he says. Currently ahead of Dempsey are two of the most exciting projects in the city, Blue Water Scarborough Apartments and Riversea at Mosman Keys. Blue Water is an exclusive, artistic seven-story boutique project featuring apartments that close the debate on “form vs. function” with premium residential accommodations and breathtaking surf views as well as an exhausting array of features. Riversea Mosman Keys features another paradise-like location unprecedented to Perth, in that it will offer privileged purchasers river and ocean views. A result of its near perfect location, sandwiched between the natural splendour of Swan River and crystalline coast of the Indian Ocean, all while overlooking the bustling Fremantle Harbour.

With so many players in the game in these difficult economic times, with the prestigious top end of the market the softest it’s been in years, one has to wonder how Gary Dempsey Development has managed to carve out such a respectable niche in the market. “We are a very small firm. Most people don’t believe that Dempsey Developments runs with only three employees -and one of them is me,” Dempsey jokes. Jests aside, it is precisely this minimalist approach to core operations that gives Dempsey the ability to focus entirely on the projects at hand and stamp them with his particular brand. This may appear like a low-tech operation at first glance, but a $300 million end-evaluation on the Blue Water and Riversea projects, alone, quickly dismisses any doubts about their abilities. “While I do have a loyal team of outside consultants in terms of architects, engineers, lawyers, accountants, etc, I was self-conscious about the company’s size until I read many years agothat Warren Buffett runs one of the world’s most successful companies on something like 15 staff members,” he shares. “I instinctively understood this approach and it seems to work for me.”

Keeping Conscious

Gary Dempsey takes environmental issues under serious consideration in all aspects of a project and his many “green” initiatives are testament to this. Boasting as impressive and extensive an environmental profile as one in the industry can attain, it is safe to say his is an example to follow. “It all starts with the design.Unlike many other developers we want to ensure that those that purchase in our developments reap the ongoing benefits of reduced strata management fees.This can only be achieved with extra thought in the design process, and typically a higher capital commitment from the developer. This sort of commitment to a project is something that many purchasers don’t even realise until they are in the building. Over-delivering on what is promised in the sales contract is always good for the company’s reputation, and repeat business of course. Want to undercut the ongoing strata fees apartment owners have to deal with over time,” he says. “We also get into things with rain water recycling, solar lighting, sustainable landscaping but we also keep a close eye on resource management – using the right materials and disposing of them in the right way,” he says and adds, “It isn’t about one large approach, but a series of smaller strategies that effectively improve a project’s overall environmental level.”

Reducing energy overheads, indeed all costs, is a hot topic in this current economic climate but Dempsey believes it is important not to get stuck in short-term thinking out of panic. “I have a project currently on hold as a result of the softness in the upper end of the market- I could have easily increased the density of the development significantly as we had approval to do so.This would reduce our sales prices and allow us to move on with development, but it would be a totally different product and of less quality than I would be prepared to put my name on. I would rather wait and complete the projects as I originally intended.” An important reason for his determination not to simply cash in and move on with these projects has to do with maintaining market/brand cache. “We have found it is simply the right thing to do, and our low overheads make it easier for us to do so. I don’t believe the larger companies would have been able to hold off and would almost definitely have reduced initial plans and moved ahead.”

Gary Dempsey and his firm have indeedbeen involved with some large-scale developments. Not only has he built a successful company, a reputation for creativity, impressive landmarks, and a unique aesthetic throughout all his projects. He seems to have also built a set of principles, which have aided him in all his efforts and continue to shape the future of his career and company. Gary Dempsey says, “I am pretty happy with the way things are going.” Judging by his body of work, it is easy to classify that as an understatement.


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