When Dr Jerry Schwartz discovered a massive model of a heart in a Darling Harbour parking lot that he had just purchased, he knew it was an omen for his most expensive real estate deal to date – the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour – which launches on Tuesday.
The heart was in rather poor shape but with the doctor’s surgical skills and some spray painting, it has been revived and will take centre place in the charity event that will officially launch the hotel.
In fact, he’s decided to share the love with 33 charities, who have taken over the whole hotel for the night, aiming to raise up to $500,000 for a variety of causes ranging from medical research to Indigenous mentoring.
Love will be both in the air and on the building with Dr Jerry arranging for a heart animation to be projected onto the facade of the hotel acknowledging the fundraising efforts of the charities, which will include Variety ambassador, John Paul Young, who is also a Sydney Swans ambassador, who might be tempted to belt out a chorus or two of Love is in the Air to keep the ardour flowing.
He may even belt out a tune from the Rolling Stones, but hopefully there will be no rain.
The $500 million Sofitel will be put to the test by The Block‘s Scott Cam, who is an ambassador for Wings4Kidz, which provides free flights to transport children with serious illnesses for treatment in specialist hospital units.
Another charity ambassador likely to appreciate the comforts of the Sofitel is Glenn McGrath (from the McGrath Foundation), who was in his cricketing prime when the last new-build luxury international hotel opened in Sydney in 1999.
However, the cricketing legend’s first year in Sydney was spent far more modestly in a Millard caravan at the $21 a night Grand Pines Tourist Park on Botany Bay, earning him the nickname “Millard”. Dr Jerry will be expecting considerably more – in fact, at least $500 per night more – on the tab when guests check out of the gleaming new Sofitel.
As for his desire for a helipad atop the hotel, CBD spies say “watch this space”.
Mal does a Malfie
Everywhere you looked at the MCG on Saturday one was overwhelmed by two things – delirious Richmond supporters and corporate branding.
And where you find branding, the businesses – and their bosses – are usually not far behind.So it was this time with NAB chief Andrew Thorburn on hand (literally) to high five Essendon’s retiring great Jobe Watson in the bank’s September club marquee before heading to the bank’s box.
Telstra boss Andy Penn was happily tweeting from the grandstand beside his wife Kallie Blauhorn.Outgoing Wesfarmers supremo Richard Goyder was soaking up the atmosphere free of the pressure of having the Eagles still in the running.
The man he replaces at the top of the AFL, banker and former player Mike Fitzpatrick, was there and would surely have been pleased to see a Richmond fairytale, even if he personally played role of heartbreaker as Carlton downed the Tiges in the 1982 grand final.
Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett was in the crowd too, although the Seven West Media director kept a relatively low profile on social media after a fairly rough week. Perhaps Seven chairman Kerry Stokes was keeping one eye of Jeff’s phone as well as the Richmond romp?
There was plenty of other TV representation with – of course – Eddie Mcguire on hand with his fellow presenter/president double act David Koch. Virgin Australia chief John Borghetti and former News Corp head Kim Williams were also among the ranks as was Tabcorp and Healthcsope chairman Paula Dwyer.
Of course there was a politician or 10. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did a Malfie (“Malcolm selfie” people) run through the stands while Opposition Leader Bill Shorten contented himself with posting a Billfie (doesn’t ring the same does it) with his wife Chloe.Also spotted were Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack and Health Minister Greg Hunt was spotted wearing Richmond colours.
Aveo billionaire speaks
Billionaire directors can be a reclusive bunch especially when it comes to the media.
Too often we only hear from them at a company’s annual meeting or in an annual report.
And so it was for embattled retirement village operator Aveo and its chairman, major shareholder Seng Huang Lee in its annual report released on Friday.
Finally, Australia can hear from the majority owner of the company that has been accused by current and former residents and consumer advocates of engaging in questionable practices to hit its targets and using contracts that residents referred to as a “get poor quick scheme”.
And CBD’s readers will be pleased to know that Lee, who is the son of corporate buccaneer and convicted criminal Lee Ming Tee, has taken the attention extremely well!
His letter to shareholders begins: “I am very pleased to report that Aveo Group returned its strongest financial results yet during 2017, a period with many solid achievements marred by a spate of negative publicity brought on by the unbalanced media reporting”.
Lee goes on to acknowledge “that people have concerns and that some residents have been confused by their contract arrangements” while taking the time to mention the mean old media a few more times.
It’s also important to note amid Lee’s crowing that Aveo’s strong financial year ended June 30 – five business days after the first story on the company’s tactics appeared.
So the important figure to look at is the staggering 60 per cent fall in Aveo’s shares in the month of July, though according to Lee things are already on the improve.
The meeting will be held on November 15 at Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel, which is owned by Mulpha, Aveo’s largest shareholder.