‘There’s nothing I wouldn’t sacrifice’
He had his first property at 19, doubled the investment in 18 months and is now one of Australia's wealthiest people with a fortune of $866 million.
But Jonathan Hallinan says it's lonely at the top. "It's insulating," he told The Weekend Australian after coming in at number 112 on the newspaper's inaugural list of the nation's 250 richest individuals. "People see really successful people as the successful people that they'd love to be, but to be incredibly successful at any one thing, you're actually living a very insulated life.
"You're not necessarily worldly … you're not life experienced. My friends who have nothing are far more life experienced than I am."
Mr Hallinan appears in The List - Australia's Richest 250 in today's Weekend Australian. The 43-year-old is the founder of property group BPM, which has residential and commercial developments in Brisbane and Melbourne, and he's now working on projects in Los Angeles.
He also owns men's suiting business The Cloakroom, which has boutiques in Melbourne, Brisbane and Tokyo and is about to open another on the top floor of BPM's Shadow Play development in Melbourne, alongside a bar.
Mr Hallinan, who lives in a luxury penthouse with a rooftop pool on Melbourne's St Kilda Rd, plans to launch a yoga, meditation and pilates brand later this year and has invested in a restaurant on the site of the former Grandmaster Records studio in Hollywood.
The property tycoon had his first job aged 10 selling newspapers on the streets of the Melbourne suburb of Glen Waverley, where he grew up. He says it has taken relentless drive and "21 years of being completely committed at all cost" to reach the point he's at now.
"There is nothing I wouldn't sacrifice," he says. "To get to this position took a drive that was all-consuming. It's not just hard work, it means that I wake up and I'm already thinking about work. I'm in the shower and thinking about it. I'm with the most important people in my life, and really, I'm thinking about my next deal."
Mr Hallinan compares his commitment to that of an Olympic athlete - "they're not getting there with balance" - but says turning 40 made him realise there's "a whole lot more that is way more rewarding than just being super successful".
The real estate developer appears on a list dominated by property entrepreneurs, along with heavyweights in industries including manufacturing, transport, mining, technology and retail.
The average fortune of Australia's 250 richest people is $1.27 billion, and their combined wealth equals almost $320 billion.
The list is topped by Anthony Pratt, who has a whopping $13.14 billion in the bank. The businessman is the son of billionaire Richard and owner of cardboard box maker and recycler Visy in Australia and Pratt Industries in the US, where he has become close to Donald Trump after building factories on America's rust belt.
He just edges out Gina Rinehart with $13.12 billion, the richest of all 27 women on The List.
The List also features Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes at number four with $9.01 billion, Frank Lowy at number six with $8.92 billion and mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest at number eight with $7.34 billion.
Summing up his achievement, Mr Pratt quotes Van Halen leader singer David Lee Roth: "Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it."
See the The List - Australia's Richest 250 in full in a special 84-page magazine in The Weekend Australian today