The Glen - David Jones
Career Stories: Andrew Costello
Regional Leasing Manager

"It's a strategic business role that goes beyond leasing shops."

Andrew started his career journey as an accountant at Deloitte before exercising his creative and strategic capabilities in the world of shopping centres.

Almost 30 years since his first shopping centre role, Andrew sat down with us to share his journey and where he sees the future of retail leasing in Australia.

Andrew Costello - profile
Andrew Costello - Regional Leasing ManagerCredit: Vicinity Centres

VCX: Hi Andrew, why don’t we start off with your background and how you came to work in retail real estate?

AC: I started out as an accountant at Deloitte and after a few years I wanted to move into a more creative role.

With my eye on a shopping centre marketing role, I took my resume (which lacked relevant experience) and stuck a cover page on top which read “no more bean counting”. This got the attention of the National Marketing Manager at Byvan in the early 90s and started my career on a new trajectory.  

VCX: So, you started in marketing before eventually moving into leasing. How was that journey and how did you transition across? 

AC: In shopping centres there are so many opportunities to move not only up, but also sideways, taking your transferable skills to new centres, departments and roles.

I loved the strategic importance of marketing and how through communication you could shape the personality of a centre and leave a legacy that remains in the community.  

During my time in Marketing, I realised I enjoyed finding solutions for the specific challenges faced by centres, and the next step for me was to put that to good use in a variety of Centre Management roles across the country. With a really holistic understanding of how shopping centres worked and what communities enjoyed, I took my knowledge and skillset into Leasing and have been there ever since.  

This industry has so many career paths, it really comes down to what you want to make of it! 

VCX: What excites you the most about working in Leasing at Vicinity?  

AC: Working with brilliant asset teams to take our shopping centres to the next level and creating mixed-use destinations – that’s exciting!  

We’ve got 60 shopping centres across the country, ranging from neghbourhood centres to CBD destinations and DFOs, each with a different focus curated specifically for their local communities. All things considered, Leasing is an area that sees plenty of action and variety – no two days are the same!  

VCX: What is the best part of your role?  

AC: I lead a diverse group of leasing professionals and work with them to grow their skillsets to advance their careers and meet the evolving needs of our business.

Having worked in centres and leasing for most of my career, I’m passionate about mentoring leasing professionals – particularly at the start of their careers - and see so much talent both in leasing and our centre operations teams at Vicinity. It’s a really rewarding part of my job. 

Andrew Costello - early marketing picture
Andrew at the start of his shopping centre career when photos were much more grainy!Credit: Vicinity Centres

VCX: Biggest achievement in your career? 

AC: There are a couple of standout achievements I’m particularly proud of so it’s probably a toss-up between being nominated for and international marketing award nomination (ICSC) or delivering a number of local centre developments that have had big impacts in their communities.  

 Specific to leasing, I’m most proud of what I’ve learnt and who I’ve learned from. I’ve had the opportunity to be mentored by strategic thinkers and had great management over the years, moving around the country in various roles and departments.  

VCX: How does Leasing fit in within the Vicinity business and deliver on our strategy? 

AC: Working in leasing is an exciting and varied strategic business role that goes beyond leasing shops. We’re making data-led decisions that improve our assets, maximise value for our retailers and create a superior experience for Vicinity customers.  

We embrace working together across functions to help us make better calls on which retailers and developments best suit a particular community to make sure we deliver leading customers experiences. It’s really satisfying and diverse work and plays a big part in delivering on broader Vicinity strategic priorities. 

VCX: Leasing has placed more dining and services in centres over the past few years, how do you see it evolving in the next few?  

AC: There is certainly an emerging trend playing out whereby shopping centres are moving to more hybrid uses as customers want to shop, play and dine, and our business strategy is spot on.  

I think we will continue to see mixed-use development bringing together retail, commercial and residential precincts. But we also need to remember, shopping centres are a community meeting places and we need to be nimble and continue to evolve our centres while supporting our retailers to evolve with us to best meet the needs of our communities. 

VCX: What’s the best advice you’ve received?  

AC: “The harder you work, the luckier you become.” But I like to adapt it to “the smarter you work, the luckier you are”.  

Working smarter means balancing family, friends and work. I’ve worked hard in my career and have always focused on education and personal development, but at the end of the day work is only one part of your life and you need to make sure you find a balance that works for you. 

VCX: So how do you get work/life balance right?  

AC: For me, balance is prioritising family, fitness and scheduling work tasks at times that suit me. I know the hours I’m most productive, so often if a task requires strategic thinking, I prioritise that in the evening when I know I’m at my best, and during regular work hours I’m focusing on my team and collaboration. 

I’ve got two teenage girls and where possible I do school drop offs and make sure I’m there for them when they need me. Running keeps me mentally and physically fit, so I know I need to make time to factor that into my day so that I’m the best version of myself at work and at home.  

 

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