Grocon grew from a small family concreting business established in Victoria, by Luigi Grollo after he emigrated from Treviso in Italy in 1938. A one-man operation, Luigi Grollo set up his own business in 1948 and completed small concreting projects, such as paving, shopping centre car parks, sewerage infrastructure and swimming pools. His sons Rino and Bruno Grollo joined the business at the age of 15. The business expanded rapidly in the 1950s by continuing with concreting of municipal swimming pools and petrol stations in Melbourne. In the years following, the Grollo Group would transition from the building of local community assets throughout the 1960s to constructing landmark developments.
In the 1970s, Grocon moved into concrete construction, such as shopping centres and high-rise buildings and started developing the projects themselves. It was also during the 1970s that Luigi Grollo handed the company over to his two sons and the business continued to rapidly expand. In 1975, Grocon moved to Darwin for 18 months after winning a large contract for rebuilding after Cyclone Tracy. This contract involved the construction of 400 houses for the government. Following this, the Grollo Group went on to develop buildings and operate businesses in a wide cross-section of industries, including commercial, residential, industrial, education, retail, sporting and tourism.
In the 1980s, many developments owned by the Grollo family were sold. This included the selling of such assets as The Hyatt, Shell Corner, 200 Queen Street and a suite of shopping centres. At this stage, the Grollo family only retained one major development – the Rialto Towers.
In 2000, the construction business was split between a construction-centric business owned by Bruno and Daniel Grollo and a property development operation owned by Rino Grollo. As part of this shift, Rino Grollo secured Equiset and the Grollo Group (including its family properties). In 1999, Bruno’s oldest son, Daniel, assumed control of Grocon as chief executive officer. Daniel Grollo has since been appointed chairman of the Green Building Council of Australia. and the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council.
In March 2012 the construction business was split again into a construction business, owned by Daniel Grollo, which is the current Grocon, and a property development business owned by his older siblings Adam and Leeanna. Grocon now has operations in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and North America. In 2014, Grocon achieved another milestone, being named as the “preferred developer” for the 2018 Commonwealth Games Village on the Gold Coast, Queensland.
On 24 February 2014, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Viney succeeded Daniel Grollo as Chief Executive Officer of Grocon. Daniel assumed the role of Executive Chairman whilst retaining full oversight and ownership of the business.
In December 2013, Grocon launched a five-year, $10 billion joint venture with Swiss investment bank UBS. The joint venture has created UBS Grocon Real Estate, a full-service real estate and asset management platform which has first right of refusal for Grocon's A$2 billion development pipeline. The venture is chaired by John A. Fraser, Chairman and CEO Global Asset Management at UBS AG and Daniel Grollo will act as a Non-Executive Director.
As a company, Grocon has been the recipient of numerous awards. In 2010, Grocon was named the Forest Stewardship Council Developer of the Year. and Grocon was also the National Master Builders Association Builder of the Year in 2011. Grocon received two The National Association of Women in Construction awards in 2013 for both outstanding and young achievement. In 2011, Grocon was the recipient of the ANZ–BRW Excellence in Community Practices prize. In the realm of safety, Grocon won the 2008 Safe Work Australia Best workplace health and safety management system award and received the WorkSafe Victoria OHS Management System of the Year prize.
Since 2002, Grocon has been involved in conflict the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) over the CFMEU's rights at Grocon developments including occupational health and safety management, union access and the wearing of union badges. This culminated in the CFMEU's picketing of at least one entrance to the Emporium development which resulted in an impassable physical barrier, preventing access to the site through that entrance for Grocon workers. Grocon subsequently launched a A$10.5 million compensation claim in the Supreme Court of Victoria for the blockade. It is also seeking contempt orders against the union for allegedly breaching two Supreme Court injunctions that ordered an end to the blockade. Justice Cavanough held that free access to the site for Grocon workers was prevented by the CFMEU as access could only be obtained through 'elaborate' police assistance. The Fair Work Building and Construction (the relevant regulatory body) has subsequently also launched legal proceedings against the CFMEU.
In June, 2015 a court ordered judgement was made which saw the CFMEU ordered to pay Grocon $3.5 million in damages.
On 28 March 2013, during 'freak' wind gusts of up to 102 kilometres per hour (63 mph), a brick wall on the boundary of a Grocon development collapsed killing three people. The wall's safety, the role of the billboards Grocon had attached to the structure and the self-supporting nature of the structure designed by the previous owner were initially questioned as possible causes. The billboard extended one metre above the wall and was suggested to have acted as a sail. There was early speculation as to the role of the advertising hoarding and whether a permit had been granted or whether a permit was needed. There were also questions surrounding the role of tree roots in destabilising the wall. An unidentified spokesperson for the Victorian Government asked unions not to block productivity over the case. WorkSafe Victoria filed criminal charges against Grocon and Aussie Signs who were employed by Grocon to construct the billboard. Police acting in the case have stated that Grocon representatives have refused to give evidence, and the company has yet to release an engineering report the court has asked for access to, saying it "was not relevant".
In November 2014 Grocon was fined $250,000 in the Magistrates Court by Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg after it pleaded guilty to a "single workplace safety charge" "... relating to the risk posed by the wall, rather than causing it to fall down.".
Grocon experienced two fires on separate Victorian construction sites, and various other acts of suspected sabotage in June 2014.
Grocon has built four of Australia's five tallest buildings in Melbourne, Sydney and South-east Queensland. Since, Grocon has increased operations broad in India and the United Arab Emirates.
In Melbourne, Grocon's completed developments include:101 Collins Street – 260-metre (850 ft) skyscraper completed in 1991.
120 Collins Street – 265-metre (869 ft) Art Deco skyscraper with a granite façade also completed in 1991.
ANZ World Headquarters (380 Collins Street)
AXA Centre - AXA Insurance Group's Melbourne offices and winner of the Property Council of Australia Victorian Award for Office Developments.
Crown Casino – Recipient of the Master Builders Association Award in 1998 and currently the largest casino in the southern hemisphere on the Southbank.
Elizabeth Street Common Ground – An eleven-storey, 131-room community housing initiative built at cost in conjunction with the Victorian Government and the Australian Government.
Eureka Tower – At the time of its construction, the world's tallest residential tower at 297.5 metres (976 ft) and awarded the Urban Design Award in the Victorian Architecture Awards.
Grand Hyatt Melbourne
KPMG House (161 Collins St)
The Age Media House – The publication centre for The Age newspaper neighbouring Southern Cross railway station and Colliers Award recipient for Best Office Development.
Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (AAMI Park) – 30,500 capacity soccer, rugby league and rugby union in the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct.
Melbourne Cricket Ground Northern Stand Redevelopment - Redevelopment for the 2006 Commonwealth Games
Pixel Building – Using carbon-netural Pixelcrete concrete, Australia's first carbon neutral office building. Pixel was awarded the Best Sustainable Building Award from the Master Builders Association and received the Premier's Sustainability Award for the Built Environment.
Queen Victoria Village – A$600 million urban village precinct surrounding Melbourne Central railway station which received the Australian Property Institute Property Development Award.
Shell House – Shell's Australian headquarters and awarded a Property Council of Australia certification.
Rialto Towers – 270-metre (890 ft) twin tower complex and the second tallest concrete building in the Southern Hemisphere.
In New South Wales, Grocon has developed:1 Bligh Street (Sydney) – Six Star-rated office and winner of the Best Tall Building Award in Asia & Australasia for 2012 in the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat's Skyscraper Awards.
ANZ Bank Centre – 195-metre (640 ft) office tower and Sydney headquarters for ANZ, Herbert Smith Freehills and Boston Consulting Group; winner of the Master Builders Association Safety Award.
Common Ground (Sydney and Brisbane) – Equity housing development in both Sydney and Brisbane and Urban Design Institute of Australia Award for Affordable Development winner.
Governor Phillip Tower (Sydney) – 227-metre (745 ft) complex in Sydney's prestigious north-eastern precinct and Property Council of Australia National Award winner.
Horizon Apartments (Sydney) – 143.9-metre (472 ft) apartment complex in Darlinghurst
General Post Office (No 1 Martin Place) (Sydney) – a development of an historic precinct surrounding the General Post Office in Sydney.
The Peak Apartments (Sydney) – 166-metre (545 ft) apartment complex in Haymarket
World Tower (Sydney) – 230 metres (750 ft) skyscraper in Sydney, briefly Australia's tallest residential building and recipient of the 2004 Bronze Emporis Skyscraper Award.
Grocon has been involved in three Queensland building projects:480 Queen Street (Brisbane) – Six Star-rated office complex, anchored by BHP Billiton and Herbert Smith Freehills in the Brisbane CBD.
The Oracle (Gold Coast) – A$850 million development at Broadbeach.
Soul (Gold Coast) – An Australian Institute of Building National Professional Excellence Building and Cbus High Rise Award recipient, the 243-metre (797 ft) residential tower completed on the Gold Coast's waterfront in 2012.
In Darwin, Grocon is best known for what are locally known as 'Grollo houses'; ground level and split level homes recognisable by the small protrusion on the roof which held the water heater. These houses were built in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy as an effective means of providing housing for Darwin's population. Leo Hammond architect of Melbourne designed them.
Internationally, Grocon's developments include:Almas Tower (Dubai) – a 360-metre (1,180 ft) skyscraper in Dubai – the tallest building in Dubai at the time of completion.
Burj Khalifa (Dubai) – an assisting contractor for the tallest man-made structure in the world, the 829.8-metre (2,722 ft) office, hotel and observation tower.
Elite Residence (Dubai) - a AED1 billion project in the Dubai Marina.
Princess Tower (Dubai) – a 414-metre (1,358 ft) tower in Dubai.
Rose Tower (Dubai) – located in Dubai, the world's tallest hotel until 2012.
Grocon has a A$2 billion development pipeline in Australia and abroad.
Grocon's current projects in Australia include:2018 Commonwealth Games Village (Gold Coast) – Grocon was selected in 2013 as the preferred developer for the Games Village.
150 Collins Street (Melbourne) – Westpac's corporate headquarters.
Australian Taxation Office Box Hill Headquarters (Melbourne)
Australian Taxation Office Brisbane Headquarters (Brisbane) (55 Elizabeth Street)
Emporium Melbourne – a new retail space neighbouring Melbourne Central railway station
Legion House (Sydney) – Six Star zero-carbon refurbishment
Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (Melbourne)– a A$1 billion public-private partnership with the Victorian Government to build a cancer treatment precinct in Parkville, due to be completed in 2015.
Internationally, Grocon is currently involved in developing:Etihad Towers (Abu Dhabi) – a complex of five towers in Abu Dhabi.
Central Market Project (Abu Dhabi) - Designed by Foster + Partners, a three tower complex in Abu Dhabi.
Pentominium (Dubai) – a 515.95-metre (1,692.7 ft) all-residential development; one of the tallest of its kind in the world.
World One (Mumbai) – 442-metre (1,450 ft) residential complex in Mumbai which will be the tallest residential complex on the subcontinent.