Developers’ sons aim to rebuild empires

THE young sons of two developers who shaped the Gold Coast skyline, but fell victim to the global financial crisis, are in Asia trying to rebuild their family empires.

Will Nikiforides and Evan Raptis — sons of Con Nikiforides and Jim Raptis — have emerged among the next generation of Gold Coast developers, dusting off the wounds after their fathers’ high-profile troubles.

The men, both in their mid-20s, established their own businesses after the banks moved in on companies linked to their fathers.

They are among 15 people travelling as part of Mayor Tom Tate’s trade mission to Taiwan and China and are looking for investment and joint venture opportunities.

“We are not prepared to give up on the city,” Mr Nikiforides Jr said.

“I have been humbled to be part of a family that has developed the city and I want to continue to enhance it.”

He left his father’s company, Niecon Developments, and set up his own company, Nuvoprojects.

His father developed projects including the Oracle and Niecon Plaza in Broadbeach and Reflections in Coolangatta.

The company that built the award-winning Oracle moved into the hands of the bank earlier this year.

“The banks have been tough for the Gold Coast. We are here looking for joint ventures, business partnership and investment opportunities,” Mr Nikiforides Jr said.

Mr Raptis Jr is joint managing director of Emandar, a company he set up in 2007 around the same time Raptis Group — which built scores of Golf Coast highrises — hit financial turmoil.

Mr Raptis Jr, who learned his skills from his father, said he was passionate about the Gold Coast development industry and wanted to be part of the next upward cycle.

“We have to look for new opportunities to be able to do that. We have to position ourselves for when the market returns,” he said.

His company is involved with a handful of low-rise projects across the city.

Both were speakers at a two-day investment seminar in Taiwanese cities Taipei and Tainan.

More than 10 Gold Coasters addressed the seminar, inviting cashed-up Taiwanese to the city.