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design Article #6

Campbell Hanan continues the Mirvac legacy of design excellence and quality construction as the newly appointed Group CEO & Managing Director. 


As Campbell Hanan takes the reins at Mirvac, the newly appointed Group CEO & Managing Director of the 50-year-old company, faces a market that presents opportunities but also significant challenges for the property industry.

A less experienced leader might feel bowed by such headwinds but Mr Hanan instead sees opportunity for Mirvac to draw upon its many resources and sail through the storm.

“I don’t shy away from more challenging economic environments,” explains Mr Hanan. “This is one of the few times that you get truly tested, when all your hard work is differentiated from your competitors. 

“That doesn’t always happen when you have the wind behind your back. We are in an environment now where quality speaks. Mirvac’s ability to design internally, to build in-house, to respond quickly to the changing needs of the customer, combined with our enduring philosophy around quality and legacy, gives us an enormous advantage. 

“We see that in the repeat business, in the community of customers who believe in what we are doing. We were incredibly proud to be the first, and so far, only, property group in Australia to be awarded the highest possible 5 Gold Star iCIRT rating. For our customers, this guarantees absolute confidence that the mark of Mirvac quality is embedded in every little detail on each and every project.”

Mr Hanan has spent more than 30 years in property, starting out in office leasing at Colliers before progressing to Savills, Investa, UBS Warburg, before landing at Mirvac in 2016 as Head of Commercial, then moving to Head of the Integrated Investment Portfolio, incorporating Office, Industrial, Retail and Build to Rent.

The burgeoning Build to Rent business was Mr Hanan’s first direct exposure to the housing sector and learning more about Mirvac’s residential business has been a key focus visiting the majority of Mirvac’s projects in Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales in the first months in his new role.

It’s an experience that has heightened his fascination with the architectural beauty of city skylines, drawing his gaze to what’s happening on the ground at the community level.

“The thing that really attracted me early on to real estate, was the way the built form talks to its surroundings,” says Mr Hanan. “There is something in the architecture that always gripped me and wherever I go, I have to look at it.

“In residential you see architecture talking to the ground plane, and it’s in that intersection that you have opportunity to integrate design to create vibrant community spaces and do development well.

“When a developer like Mirvac has a blank canvas in a large development, we have an opportunity to curate and create the experience from end to end. That is exciting for a group like us. Ultimately, vibrant communities are about people integrating themselves where they feel extremely welcome and safe.” 


“When a developer like Mirvac has a blank canvas in a large development, we have an opportunity to curate and create the experience from end to end. That is exciting for a group like us.” 


For at least half of its 50 years, Mirvac has embraced developments at scale, where there is scope to exercise its expertise in urban planning, development, design, construction, marketing and sales. Some of these major projects, such as Waterfront Newstead, The Peninsula Burswood and Yarra’s Edge have been in train since the turn of the century. Others such as Woodlea in Victoria, Everleigh in Queensland and Green Square in NSW will be rolled out over the next decade or two, large scale urban projects that require great vision and even greater dedication.

“Looking 20 to 30 years ahead is something that Mirvac does incredibly well,” says Mr Hanan. “In large masterplanned communities we are thinking about schools, town centres, vibrant retail areas and all the public space with parks and how that works with children and safety.

“It is all about the social infrastructure we create upfront, with inviting park space and a mix of housing typologies, whether that is houses, terraces, medium density and even higher density.”

Community engagement is an aspect of development that Mr Hanan views as critical to the success of every project, a credo he exercised in the Office portfolio. The transformation of the old Eveleigh Railway Workshops in the Sydney suburb of Redfern into a community-centric destination for work, shopping, dining and health nd wellness, with genuine connection to the site’s heritage and Indigenous legacy, provides some insight into his methods. And what we might expect in the future.

“We have a deep 50-year history of building in residential markets around the country. We are acutely aware of how communities come together and sympathetic to how we create communities in urban areas,” says Mr Hanan.

“At Harbourside for instance, a really exciting project for Mirvac, hundreds and hundreds of hours of community consultation have gone into thinking about how we integrate community space, living space, retail space and event space into a single built form. There is an art to getting it right.

“The trap that so many developers fall into is they talk about community consultation like a slice of toast for breakfast. The real richness is in deep, meaningful community consultation because successful community spaces are created in response to the needs of community. The art is unlocking what that really looks like through deep and curious involvement with those communities and responding to it.”

Bringing highly complex and multi layered projects to fruition around Australia are design, development and marketing teams operating in each State. Mirvac’s corporate headquarters might reside at 200 George Street at the harbour end of Sydney’s CBD, but its people are deeply embedded in the localities where Mirvac develops and builds. Keeping that machinery humming along is key to creating homes truly integrated within the wider community.


“It is fascinating to see how those teams come together,” says Mr Hanan. “It is such a well-oiled machine with a deep focus on community and design excellence, taking on community collaboration and bringing that all together into our built form.

“The risks we are prepared to take on, delivering social infrastructure upfront, demonstrate our willingness to create a community first and foremost.”

As a premium property group, Mirvac has never dabbled in “investor stock” nor aspired to quantity over quality, instead appealing to the owner occupier market that appreciates the enduring value of a quality brand. That hasn’t deterred investors nor first home buyers from being amongst the broad customer base, even as the property market faces a myriad of challenges, not the least being affordability in the face of rising interest rates and construction costs.

“The one thing that is obvious in the environment we are in now is that we do have a housing crisis in Australia,” says Mr Hanan.

“Being the champion of tomorrow and never taking short cuts are two important elements of the Mirvac vision that I see no reason to change.”


“Accepting that there is a problem, it is more likely that all forms of government and industry will come together to solve it. We are going to need every piece of housing typology to fix the problem from apartment densification in the cities to land leasing and Build to Rent. They all have a role to play in addressing the lack of supply.

“Affordability is a huge challenge exacerbated by the high cost of construction. We do have to build more homes. Historically government has been extremely good at stimulating the buy side of the housing cycle, helping people into the market. 

“This time the stimulation that is really needed is on the supply side. It is refreshing to see how governments around the country are tackling this.”

Mr Hanan has a humility at odds with his position at the helm of Australia’s largest property group. He rides a Vespa to work and is as comfortable in jeans at the office as he is a smart suit. And he’s not big on grand vision pronouncements, rather acknowledging that Mirvac’s vision has been perfectly clear-sighted thus far.

“Our purpose is to reimagine urban life and that has been kept alive by previous CEOs,” says Mr Hanan, paying tribute in particular to founder Bob Hamilton and his immediate predecessor, Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.

“Bob left Mirvac with an extraordinary legacy of quality and design, and Sue’s leadership brought a focus on purpose - doing the right thing and being engaged with community.

“Being the champion of tomorrow and never taking short cuts are two important elements of the Mirvac vision that I see no reason to change.”

Ask around the corridors of Mirvac for views on the new boss and there is universal agreement that he’s a great guy; easy-going, easy to get along with. That may be in part because Mr Hanan is looking to pin his own legacy on nurturing the talent that will enable Mirvac to further enhance its reputation for design and construction quality, and position at the pinnacle of Australian property.

“I would love Mirvac to be recognised as a great place of learning for young property professionals; where they learn development and leadership skills and that legacy is something they carry with them. 

“Mirvac as the University of Real Estate.”


The view from the top