Property development in the Hunter Region has been booming for a while now. In recent years, most of the chatter has revolved around the transformation of the Newcastle CBD, but there has been plenty happening in the residential community sector around the region as well. And if there’s one company at the forefront of that sector, it’s the McCloy Group.
With over five decades of experience, the McCloy Group is associated with many popular residential communities throughout the Hunter, New England and Northern Rivers regions. Each McCloy community is unique, but all have one thing in common: they’ve been designed with a particular focus on creating an ‘exceptional living environment’. So what does this mean, exactly?
“We ultimately see ourselves as creating communities, not doing subdivisions and chopping up blocks of land,” says McCloy Group Chairman, Jeff McCloy. “There’s a whole different philosophy when you think like that.”
Each of the McCloy Group’s master-planned developments features meticulously designed streetscapes and landscaping, vibrant public art, statement entry features and lifestyle-focused amenities.
“When you come home, you come through the entry statements, you have a sense of pride in the quality that’s there,” continues Jeff. “You’ve got parks or playgrounds for the kids to play in, for grandparents to take their grandchildren. And on top of that, our public art, to add interest.” Carefully selected public art installations are a prominent aspect within all McCloy communities. Viewed as a key element of any community’s cultural foundation, public art is something that’s long been important to the Group and its Chairman.
“Lake Macquarie Council has actually taken up the challenge of public art, and is doing a marvellous job of placing public art in its communities,” notes Jeff.
“It does make a difference to your living [environment]; it is good for a city, and we’ve been doing it for a long time now. In fact, we’re upping the ante – we’re putting some beautiful bronzes in some of our subdivisions, and will increase the standard of our public art as years go on.”
The art, the entry statements, the landscape design – all of these elements are blended seamlessly to create an overarching sense of both quality and community. The McCloy Group’s latest Medowie project, The Gardens (currently in development), is a prime example of this cohesion. “We go into an enormous amount of detail in planning those gardens,” explains Jeff.
“Where we put the gardens, how we put the public art in the gardens, the entry statements… It’s a lot of fun for our staff and me, but also it’s a great thing to be able to provide in the community.”
So with 15+ residential developments already under their belts, what’s next in the pipeline for the McCloy Group? When asked where he believes the current property market is heading, and how the McCloy Group is responding, Jeff explains, “We try to create our own markets. The Labor government is saying it’s going to attack negative gearing and capital gains tax – that will have a substantial effect on investors, but our company particularly hasn’t chased investors that much. We’ve preferred to look for permanent owners for our estates, and have done that deliberately. I think that’s probably going to be a good strategy that we adopted a long time ago.”
The Group’s focus on creating “inspiring neighbourhoods in which people love to live” is set to continue into 2019 and beyond.
Approval is currently being sought for several more residential subdivisions, but there’s an additional large-scale venture currently underway, and it’s a first for the company: a foray into retirement living.
The McCloy and Stevens Groups have partnered to undertake the Principle Living project – a joint venture to own, develop and operate retirement villages. Pitched as ‘a premium lifestyle offering for seniors’, the project will involve retirement communities in both horizontal (villa) and vertical (apartment) styles.
There’s been a renewed focus on Australia’s ageing population in recent years, which is set to ramp up in 2019 through initiatives like the Royal Commission into Aged Care and new codes of conduct for retirement village operators. The McCloy and Stevens Groups have pledged to align the Principle Living project with the government’s ageing-in-place initiatives, using their combined skills and experience to deliver an effective result. “The combined skills of the companies add to and reinforce the individual skills we’ve got,” says Jeff of the partnership.
The first of the Principle Living retirement villages is proposed as an addition to The Bower, a residential subdivision launched in Medowie in 2016. Set amongst The Bower’s 416 homesites, the village will house 100 retirement living villas to the value of $45 million. Several other sites with potential for incorporating retirement living have been identified, including the McCloy Group’s Heritage Parc community, a Thornton North site also owned by McCloy, and the Stevens Group’s expansive Pokolbin estate, The Vintage.
The aims underpinning the Principle Living venture circle back to the community philosophy behind all McCloy projects.
“Instead of just finding some land, buying it and developing it and selling it, we have an ongoing commitment to that particular community, by fostering retirement villages in the land that we have developed,” Jeff says.
Each retirement village will revolve around high-quality, fit-for-purpose housing paired with signature McCloy community features and facilities. There are also plans to incorporate a variety of onsite services – “bringing in that dimension of being able to have the lawn mowed, or the windows washed,” explains Jeff.
With all this in the pipeline, as well as another potential commercial development in the Newcastle CBD (stay tuned for further news on that in future), the McCloy Group is set for an exciting year – with a focus on community living that’s stronger than ever.
Intouch Magazine – March 2019
Words by Claire Bradshaw