Barangaroo at dusk
Barangaroo at dusk. Photo – Canva.
  • Last year, 42 Grocon entities reportedly went into administration
  • Today, Grocon Group, Grocon Constructors (NSW) and 43 others have followed suit
  • Issues with Infrastructure NSW over the Barangaroo project in Sydney appear to be central

Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, was British Prime Minister – twice – during the mid-19th century.

Legend has it that his dying words were: ‘Die, Doctor? Why that’s the very last thing I will do!

Never a truer word said in jest perhaps. It certainly took someone of enormous wit and wherewithal to allow these particular words to pass his lips as he faded away.

He was aged 80, which in 1896 was a ‘good innings’, one might say.

Last November, news of Grocon’s collapse was described as ‘greatly exaggerated’ by an AAP/Julian Smith article in The Conversation (‘News of the collapse of the Grocon empire is greatly exaggerated’, 24 November 2020.)

The property giant, which has substantial business in development, construction and residential real estate was started by Luigi Grollo in 1948. Various media outlets had been reporting its imminent demise throughout 2020.

The privately-held company, now headed by Luigi’s grandson Daniel Grollo, was still very much in operation, said the article in The Conversation, however.

“Development… is a route to serious money”, the article continued, as opposed to construction, which provides “limited opportunities for a big payday, and plenty of opportunities to make a hash of it.”

It seems that after battling Infrastructure NSW over “permitted building heights” at the Barangaroo project in Sydney, the company was ordered to pay $1 million in legal costs.

Today, time ran out. The company is in administration, which follows dozens of other Grocon subsidiaries that did likewise at the end of 2020. They cited issues with the Barangaroo project.

Various media outlets have stated that another 43 companies have been placed in administration, making it 87 related entities in total. Their fate will be decided at a creditor’s meeting next month.

How did such a sizeable real estate organisation collapse in this way? We will probably not know the real answer behind this for a while.

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