Howzat? Two top Kiwi sportsmen have joined the ranks of Tommy’s Real Estate’s most valuable players.
Former Blackcap Grant Elliott is the new Business Development/Team Culture Manager and rugby player Ben Castle is the General Manager of Tommy’s new commercial real estate division. The South African-born Elliott came to New Zealand in 2003 for a lifestyle change and opportunity in cricket.
He debuted for the Blackcaps in 2007/8 and retired a decade later, having smashed several batting records and been judged Man of the Match in the 2015 World Cup semi-final against, ironically, South Africa.
Married with two sons, who play for Wellington Collegians Cricket Club, he’s also played cricket for Wellington and has been a long-time cricket commentator, most recently with Spark Sport and is currently on the Wellington Cricket Board.
Before joining Tommy’s he was the Business Development Manager for Retail NZ, the Chief Executive Officer of education platform named Minded, and in his role at Playmaker Labs helped to deliver live streaming of sport around the world. He remembers being in the UK and being able to watch his own kids play cricket at home. “We need to promote sport for all our kids,” he says. “It’s one of the cornerstones of our communities and society.”
It was Tommy’s “team element” that convinced him to join the company. “Having a group of 45 highly motivated and driven agents that work together as a team makes me feel like I am back in a high-performance sporting environment, and is clearly a foundation that makes Tommy’s so successful. “I see my role as creating an environment where people love coming to work, are selfless in what they do and are great team players. “Tommy’s has built up an amazing name and legacy over the last 20 years because of the way agents treats vendors and buyers.
“We want to grow the whole portfolio of the company as well as the people. “Ideally we’d like people to rent their first house from our property management company. “Hopefully they’d then buy their first investment property with us, and from there, their first house. We’d love people to go full circle with us.
“And Ben building our commercial real estate portfolio will be quite an exciting way to grow the company.”
Ben joined Tommy’s in August 2021 after a professional career, working at NZ Rugby (where he led the management, retention, and employment negotiation of NZ’s top professional players), and then onto General Manager at the Hurricanes. “I had been leading people and teams, from a high performance point of view and wanted to broaden my expertise and skills set into more of a business focus,” he says of his decision to join Tommy’s.
“I had a lot of discussions with Tommy’s about their aspirations, and where they saw their business heading, and things just started to line up. “This was an opportunity to look to the future, what Tommy’s will look like in five-to-ten years’ time, and how we’ll keep evolving as a business. “I wanted to be part of an iconic Wellington brand. I’m a proud born-and-bred Wellingtonian who’s passionate about the city and it felt a good fit to move into that space and help Tommy’s build it.”
Tommy’s Commercial is Wellington-wide and across all sectors, from office leasing to building sales to retail and industrial leasing and sales. “It’s a one-stop-shop,” Ben says. He believes the strength of Tommy’s brand and how Tommy’s work as a team will be critical to the new division’s success. “That’s the big point of difference. Our Tommy’s team is predominantly residential, but we work together across a number of different fronts so there’s a lot of information sharing. “There is a positive expectation we work together as a team at Tommy’s because as a team we’re stronger and we all believe that”.
Ben says the commercial real estate market is promising. “The likes of Covid, interest rate movement and lending regulations has had an impact and people and businesses are changing how they might work. However, there are new retailers in town, different businesses with different office requirements and office space is constantly evolving. “People are naturally interested in opportunities too. Once we’re through this next Covid wave and borders have re-opened, I expect a positive Wellington market for buyers and sellers”
Grant says Tommy’s growth will help it to plough more money back into the community, with its support of the Trees That Count, Wellington Children’s Hospital, Wellington Free Ambulance, Life Education Trust, the Wellington-based charity Given for You, amongst many more.
“The more houses we sell, the more we can contribute to these charities, and the bigger the difference we can make to the community.”