McCloy Group is a family-owned, Hunter-based property group with a diverse portfolio of commercial and residential assets. Over the course of their 50-year history, they have delivered more than 3,500 home sites and 18,500 square metres of commercial space. They have also won more than three dozen industry accolades – from bodies including the City of Newcastle, the Urban Taskforce, the Master Builders Association, the Urban Development Institute of Australia, and more.

Most recently, the McCloy Group was recognised with one of the most sought-after prizes in the urban development industry – a UDIA NSW Award for Excellence in Residential Development. They won that award for their innovative work on their Heritage Parc community in the Hunter Valley.

At the gala dinner where the award was presented, Heritage Parc received significant praise. For example, Laurie Rose – Chief Judge of the competition, and urban engineer of almost 40 years – said the development is “outstanding.”

“Heritage Parc provides an unusual and impressive range of open spaces and outdoor recreation facilities around a series of lakes that will no doubt deliver a very attractive lifestyle for residents,” he said.

“The masterplan responds sensitively and astutely to the environmental attributes of this former golf course, with over 50 per cent of the 102 hectare site comprising lakes and parkland, which will be managed by residents as part of this 450 lot community title estate,” he continued.

“Screening to mitigate visual impacts from an adjoining industrial area and noise impacts from the recently completed Hunter Expressway are handled well.”

“In a regional market where price-sensitivity is always an issue, Heritage Parc demonstrates how quality landscaped parks, public art, play equipment and many other inclusions can be delivered and maintained in an affordable manner.”

Covering the gamut

Heritage Parc is one of the McCloy Group’s many award-winning master-planned residential estates. Since diversifying from a commercial builder in the 1990s, the company has developed more than a dozen quality and sustainable communities in the Hunter and New England regions. They have established a trusted presence within each individual one, and have focused on creating places where people feel safe and secure, and “love to live.”

“We’re a local developer, and we have a real passion for attention to detail and presentation,” says Shane Boslem, the Senior Development Manager at McCloy Group. “We continually set the benchmark for residential communities.”

Jeff McCloy is the second generation Chairman of the McCloy Group. According to Shane, the company’s passion and drive starts at the top with him.

“Jeff likes to drive through our estates, and make sure everything is up to his standard,” Shane says. “And not just the ones we are currently building – but also the ones we’ve completed a number of years ago. He takes a lot of pride in our finished product and its presentation, and he makes sure they hold up over the years.”

“You can see that specifically in the landscaping,” adds Gabrielle Witter, Marketing Manager for the Group. “We have community gardens, dog exercise areas, and beautiful, impactful entry features which you don’t see in a lot of other developments.”

McCloy Group places a strong emphasis on creating exceptional living environments, with “vibrant public art and aesthetically serene streetscapes.” The company builds children’s playgrounds,cycleways, plants mature street trees, and generally includes open spaces as often as possible.

According to Shane, McCloy Group drives that attention to detail from the very beginning of a project.

“We’re involved every step of the way,” he says. “We engage our expert consultants to provide us with their advice, but we like to know their logic behind what they’re recommending in terms of landscaping and public art. We have fairly close relationships with these companies.”

Heritage Parc is a particularly relevant example of McCloy’s attention to detail, especially when it comes to nature. The community is set on 102 hectares with over 55 hectares dedicated to green open spaces. On the site, the company intends to create the kind of parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities they have become recognised for.

Specifically, they have plans for a community garden, an outdoor art gallery, golf facilities, picnic areas with BBQ facilities, various playgrounds, fitness circuits, playing fields, a cricket facility, a BMX track, a basketball and netball court, a dedicated off-leash dog park, and a cycleway that links the parks.

“We’re trying to cover the whole gamut of different recreational areas,” Shane says.

Housing balance

Originally, Heritage Parc started its life as a district golf course, and McCloy Group intended to turn it into a major tourist facility with a championship 18-hole course. As those types of developments fell out of favour with the market, the company revamped the idea into a 9-hole golf course and focused more on the residential offering. Soon after, McCloy moved away from the golf course idea altogether, and instead established Heritage Parc as an “integrated recreational space.”

McCloy refined the concept for Heritage Parc in collaboration with a number of local design consultants that they had worked with in the past. They have since begun implementing that concept with a mixture of local and national builders – whom McCloy brought on board very early in the process.

“At Heritage Parc we have a display village with 11 display homes, half of which are now complete, with the rest not too far off,” Shane says. “We worked very closely with those builders, and did a lot of shared marketing with them.”

“We carefully chose the builders so we could offer a whole range of home designs and package inclusions to suit different lifestyles, needs and wants,” Gabrielle adds. “Every one of them offered quality homes, but they ranged from the more economical to the more prestige homes.”

“We’ve tried to offer a number of different price points,” Shane says. “Affordability is a big challenge for our industry at the moment, so we tried to cater to a range of different budgets.”

In general, McCloy Group seeks to offer purchasers flexibility and options. According to Gabrielle, that’s another thing that sets the company apart from a lot of their competitors.
“We don’t have the strict guidelines that result in cookie-cutter home designs,” she says. “We give clients flexibility, because it creates individuality in the community. Not all the houses look the same. People really like being able to buy the home that they want.”

“We get a nice diversity of housing products, and we keep the standard at a level that everyone’s happy with,” Shane adds. “That’s a balance that we always try to find in the marketplace.”

Recently, the McCloy Group completed the first three stages of the project, which includes 54 blocks – the vast majority of which have already sold. The fourth stage of the project includes 22 more lots, and is currently under construction. The company is already selling on that stage, andShane anticipates they will keep rolling out “stage after stage” in order to meet the market demand.

An oasis

When McCloy Group won the 2014 UDIA Award for Excellence in Residential Development, they became the first regional developer to win that category.

“We don’t strive to win awards, we just strive to do the best job we can, but it is nice when it happens,” Shane says. “And it’s a real good feeling to go up against the best in the state and win. That’s also good acknowledgement for a lot of hard work put in over the years by a dedicated and focused team.”

“Because we’re in such an early stage of the development, that acknowledgment also shows we’re getting it right from the beginning,” Gabrielle adds. “And it’ll only get better and better over time.”

Both Shane and Gabrielle credit the award recognition to – above all else – the “atmosphere” of Heritage Parc. That starts with the striking entry features, and continues with the dynamic landscape and water features.

“As soon as you drive through the gates to the estate, you’re in a very welcoming, inspiring atmosphere,” Gabrielle says. “It just feels like a beautiful place to live, and settle down, and bring up your family. It feels safe. It’s like an oasis.”

Source: Business World Australia, 1 October 2015