For over 35 years David Payes has been the driving force behind Intrapac Property. Known for his achievements in the property industry, most wouldn’t be aware of his significant, other activities which span academia and a broad range of business interests, board positions, community service and charitable contributions. He is a highly deserving Member of the Order of Australia appointee, recently recognised in the Queen’s Birthday 2022 Honours List.
David grew up in 1950s New Zealand, an environment he describes as socialist and egalitarian – a country where, in his words, “it was all about giving back to the community”. A gifted student and a natural entrepreneur, David’s career has provided ample opportunity to live these values. His entrepreneurial talent and flair for recognising market opportunities was apparent from the outset.
In the early 1980s, having studied a double degree in law and economics and with the advent of the personal computer, David recognised the potential for developing desktop accounting software. He co-founded a software development company which became known as HiSoft. The company went on to develop accounting software for Apple, Hitachi and IBM. Within four years the business was generating revenue in the hundreds of millions, employed two thousand people, and was bought out by HBA Insurance.
David had been exposed to property development from an early age. His father, Maurice, was a successful chemical engineer, entrepreneur and builder-developer in New Zealand. He reasoned that property development was a good fall-back profession in case David didn’t take to academia. From the age of 13, Maurice purchased David’s first suit and had him accompany him to his property business meetings.
In fact, David was well placed to establish a successful academic career, achieving his degree with First Class Honours from Melbourne University, and with invitations to lecture in law and economics. Whilst he lectured for some time, specialising in tax and trusts, ultimately, his interests lay in the more tangible business of property development.
David recognised that the combination of restrictive land supply policies and high population growth in Australia would lead to increasing land values. He invested the proceeds from selling HiSoft into land, and it was then that Intrapac – a name borrowed from his brother-in-law’s packaging business, where he first set up an office – was born.
His progressive attitude, economic smarts and skill for developing strong business relationships have been key ingredients in Intrapac’s growth and success. He has built Intrapac Property around the concept of increasing value to customers, becoming a pioneer in placemaking and quality urban design as a strategy for differentiated residential development projects, well before these concepts were popularised. He is incredibly proud of these enduringly attractive neighbourhoods and the wealth generated for the thousands of purchasers in Intrapac’s many residential land subdivisions during the past 30+ years.
David has been a property industry leader serving the Urban Development Institute of Australia (VIC) as President, Vice President, a Women in Property mentor and Director, as well as a National Councillor. He is also co-founded of several other businesses including Constellation Audio, Continuum Audio Labs, Rosch Recruitment and CTS Travel and Events.
David’s remit to give back is further displayed by his myriad of contributions he beyond business. From his early work as a lecturer in law and economics at Monash and Melbourne Universities, to board positions for the Taxation Institute of Australia (Victorian Division), Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne Art Foundation and Melbourne Art Fair, National Gallery of Victoria Foundation, Skin and Cancer Foundation, Monash Property Management (a subsidiary of Monash University) and a Member of the Board of Governors of the Maccabi Foundation.
He has also been a substantial donor to the Jewish Care and Federation of Jewish Aged and Community Service Organisations for 30 years, a financial supporter of Mount Scopus College as well as a Governor, Member of the College Council and Chairman of the Fundraising Committee for Bialik College.
David credits his ability to balance these broad responsibilities to the strong support he has received from his family.
“Holding these positions is not a free kick, you have to be prepared to commit time and effort,” says David. “Any accolades I have received are not just due to me, it’s a family effort, because I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of my family. Particularly my wife Sonia, who is successful in her own career as an artist and understands the time and effort involved.”
With Kinley, Victoria’s largest urban infill site and Intrapac’s most complex and ambitious project to-date, currently underway, as well as a growing list of highly successful projects across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, David’s entrepreneurial spirit and philosophy of value creation through delivering great places continues to drive Intrapac’s approach.