Following on from our exciting announcement last month, we sat down with Cam Hamilton of the David Hamilton Property Group (DHPG) to find out the history behind our new home and why he’s so passionate about what he does.
WHAT DOES THE DHPG DO?
We specialise in the purchase and development of under utilised buildings in Geelong, from there we turn them into transformations of vibrant commercial office spaces.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE FEDERAL MILLS?
The Federal Mill opened in 1915 and was built by the Commonwealth Government to manufacture woollen cloth for the Australian Army Uniforms for World War One. In 1923 it was sold into private hands and continued to be a successful textile manufacturer under various ownership right up until the 1970s.
The David Hamilton Group purchased The Federal Mill in 2013 in a derelict state and began the restoration of the site. The buildings themselves were in reasonable condition but the site was littered with rubbish and many of the original fittings had been removed. To date we have completed about 75% of the renovation works and we house many new local businesses.
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THE FEDERAL MILLS THAT ATTRACTED THE DHPG?
The Federal Mills presented a fabulous challenge to restore the buildings to their former glory and create a new story in Geelong. The design of The Federal Mill was quite innovative in that it was single story and designed to optimise natural light and ventilation, which was a departure from the multi story factories built in those dates. Today those same design qualities attract new tenants from within Geelong and nationally to set up their tech-based businesses here. It’s a perfect environment for the new breed of entrepreneurs and start-ups in Geelong.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Purchasing a property with a clear vision of what we want to achieve, seeing that project through to completion and then leasing all the tenancies. Sometimes the more successful projects can be the ‘ugly ducklings’ so I get a lot of satisfaction transforming them into great investments.
WHAT’S PLANNED FOR THE FUTURE OF THE DHPG?
We are forging ahead with our vision for the Pivot City Innovation District which is our ‘big picture’ vision for the PowerStation, Federal Mills and the Glasshouse (old Pilkington’s building) as well as a number of renovations of four buildings in Newtown and the CBD.
Header Image: ‘Federal Woollen Mills’
Image courtesy of Geelong Heritage Centre