WIN­NING THE WEST

ADRIAN FINI, THE PERTH DE­VEL­OPER WITH THE SOUL OF AN ARTIST, IS QUI­ETLY BOOST­ING THE CITY’S APPEAL WITH A SE­RIES OF PROJECTS THAT BRING OUT ITS BEST.

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - MOTORING W - MARIA SHOLLENBARGER FRANCES ANDRIJICH

For a city that’s largely an af­ter­thought to those liv­ing on the eastern seaboard, Perth is rather hog­ging the spot­light lately. With the ad­vent of a non­stop flight from Lon­don, its at­tributes – both nat­u­ral and man-made – are be­ing praised far be­yond Aus­tralia’s bor­ders: the vanilla-white per­fec­tion of Cottes­loe Beach and the pleas­ingly syl­van reaches of Kings Park, ob­vi­ously; but also the pro­lif­er­a­tion of ex­cel­lent cock­tail bars and restau­rants, the sud­den abun­dance of no­tably good ho­tels, and the ro­bust, in­creas­ingly crowded sky­line. If Perth is a run­ner-up, it’s one that’s lately show­ing a breadth – and depth – of style that’s sur­pris­ing to a lot of peo­ple.

Ex­cept for Perthites, of course, who’ve al­ways known, in a non-braggy sort of way, ex­actly how good they have it. On a fine, blus­tery af­ter­noon early last sum­mer, I sat in the sur­pass­ingly el­e­gant sur­rounds of Como The Trea­sury – one of those ex­cel­lent new ho­tels, and the one that many (in­clud­ing this writer) con­sider not just the finest city ho­tel in Perth, but in the coun­try – with one par­tic­u­larly prom­i­nent lo­cal, whose con­tri­bu­tions to the city are nu­mer­ous and wide-rang­ing. Soft-spo­ken, se­ri­ous but quick to smile, im­pec­ca­bly stylish in soft­con­struct Ital­ian blazer and trousers, Adrian Fini is The Trea­sury’s pri­mary owner and de­vel­oper.

Fini is an in­ter­est­ing study: born and raised in Perth, he’s a first-gen­er­a­tion Aus­tralian, the son of two Ital­ians; his wife is Ital­ian by birth; of his five chil­dren, one son al­ready works for the fam­ily busi­ness. His fa­ther, Tony, founded the fam­ily property-de­vel­op­ment com­pany Fini Group; Adrian joined in the 80s and be­came man­ag­ing di­rec­tor in 2001. (It even­tu­ally merged, be­com­ing Mir­vac Fini, with Adrian as CEO; when that later be­came Mir­vac Group, he moved to an ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor role, be­fore step­ping down in 2010 to fo­cus on FJM Property, the pri­vate de­vel­op­ment com­pany he’d formed sev­eral years ear­lier with long­time col­lab­o­ra­tors Barry Jones and David Mack.) Fini main­tains a strong sense of his Ital­ian heritage: fam­ily, food and ex­cel­lence in ser­vice mat­ter to him, and he’s an avowed sub­scriber to the idea that build­ings should con­trib­ute both use­ful­ness and beauty to the com­mu­nity they’re part of – some­thing he has in part at­trib­uted to the im­pres­sion made on him by Rome’s “cre­ative ur­ban spa­ces” when he vis­ited Italy on child­hood hol­i­days. (He once told a lo­cal news­pa­per that the best lit­mus for judg­ing Perth’s evo­lu­tion since his youth was to be found in the con­tents of a sand­wich; hav­ing been sent to school with panini al prosci­utto crudo – then con­sid­ered a for­eign odd­ity – he pitied the boys and girls who had to make do with Devon sausage.)

Fini does big deals, some of the big­gest in WA: his last ma­jor one, the Cathe­dral Square Precinct in the CBD, of which the State Build­ings that house Como The Trea­sury form part, cost an es­ti­mated $585m all told; his cur­rent projects in­clude a $385m multi-use de­vel­op­ment at El­iz­a­beth Quay, to in­clude two ho­tels, sev­eral hun­dred res­i­dences, din­ing and life­style out­lets and the city’s first pen­t­house pub­lic art mu­seum (ex­tend­ing over the top two storeys of one of the tow­ers); and the Mur­doch Health and Knowl­edge Precinct, an in­no­va­tive com­bi­na­tion medi-ho­tel, clinic, aged-care fa­cil­ity and res­i­dences. But he’s also re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing a his­toric pub on the south coast, called the Coogee Ho­tel, with the in­ten­tion to re­launch it late this year. His part­ner in this is restau­ra­teur Nic Trim­boli, with whom he also founded the Lit­tle Crea­tures brew­ery, West Perth’s Gor­don Street Garage café and the peren­ni­ally packed Fre­man­tle restau­rant­bak­ery Bread In Com­mon.

Be­sides his mul­ti­far­i­ous CV – mega-de­vel­oper, restau­rant im­pre­sario, for­mer brew­ery owner (Lion bought Lit­tle Crea­tures in 2012), phi­lan­thropist (he sits on the board of the Perth Fes­ti­val and chairs the Art Gallery of WA’s To­mor­rowFund Foun­da­tion) – Fini is a gen­uine aes­thete. He stud­ied de­sign in Lon­don, has a wide knowl­edge of con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture and col­lects con­tem­po­rary art; more to the point, he brings a highly re­fined, cre­ative eye to the small­est de­tails in ev­ery one of his busi­ness pur­suits – from who fur­nishes the choco­lates in the State Build­ings’s tiny ar­cade atelier, to where the (strictly na­tive) blooms at the al­cove florist are sourced from, to which chefs man the var­i­ous kitchens of the restau­rants that have formed his em­pire. Most in­trigu­ing, for a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man, is that he claims to have as­signed him­self a re­mit, in busi­ness and life, that’s more Re­nais­sance Man than Master of the Uni­verse: to only do for WA what ben­e­fits WA – its sky­lines, its res­i­dents, its vis­i­tors, its cul­ture.

“The idea with any de­vel­op­ment was – still is – to

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