Sydney-based Lewis Land Group is preparing for a decade-long transformation of its Gold Coast Harbour Town precinct with construction of the first stage of the $1.5 billion Harbour Shores residential development likely to begin early next year.
The family-owned company, founded by the late Bernie Lewis, is planning to appoint a builder for the first stage of Harbour Shores by the end of 2023 with the company’s confidence in the project buoyed by a rush of inquiries from local buyers well ahead of the planned launch.
The first stage will deliver 150 residences comprising a mix of mid-rise apartments, townhouses and villas to meet demand for the ‘missing middle’ for buyers on the Gold Coast, a market that has been largely dominated by luxury projects along the beachfront.
Lewis Land is aiming to fast-track development of Harbour Shores after the company last week gained approval for the second stage which will deliver an additional 230 residences across three 12-storey apartment buildings.
The preliminary stages are part of a 10-year plan by Lewis Land for the 15.7ha canal-front site located opposite Harbour Town that will ultimately comprise more than 2,000 apartments, villas and penthouses to accommodate a resident population of more than 4,500.
Lewis Land Group CEO Matthew McCarron describes the first stage of the development as ‘pretty ambitious’ as it will include a significant portion of the development’s ‘placemaking’ infrastructure.
“The site has been within our group for upwards of 45 years and we’ve really just been waiting for the market and the demand to catch up to our aspirations for the site,” McCarron tells Business News Australia.
“We are now at a point where we are confident that we can deliver what promises to be an iconic development in that missing-middle section of the Gold Coast.
“There is nothing quite like what we are delivering at Harbour Shores within the Gold Coast.”
Lewis Land Group plans to include major public infrastructure in the first stage comprising a large canalfront public park and a boardwalk along the canal. Residents’ amenities will include a swimming pool, tennis court, gym and wellness centre.
While pricing remains challenging in the current high-inflation cycle, McCarron says Harbour Shores will offer varied price points to meet a broad market demographic.
“It’s a pretty volatile market at the moment so the pricing will be progressed over the next few months, but there will be a range of price points given the variety of products we are looking to deliver.
“The plan is to launch pre-sales in the third quarter of this year and have a builder appointed by the end of the year, so it will be all systems go over the course of the next couple of months.”
Harbour Shores is seen as a key investment by Lewis Land that will drive further investment at Harbour Town, which the company owns in partnership with Vicinity Centres (ASX: VCX).
“We have a lot of land surrounding our centre at Harbour Town,” McCarron says.
“Harbour Shores is a milestone in repositioning and really elevating this precinct and setting the tone for what promises to be a significant development over a very long period of time.”
Harbour Shores builds on Lewis Land Group’s long-term investment at Sovereign Islands and Ephraim Island on the northern end of the Gold Coast. When completed, the master-planned development will push the company’s association with the Gold Coast into its sixth decade.
“The demand for housing generally on the Gold Coast is extraordinary,” McCarron says.
“We are big believers in southeast Queensland and have been for a very long time.
“Harbour Shores still will be a very high quality product, but it’s going to be a different style of product to what you are seeing on the coastal fringe on the Coast.
“It really sets the tone for what we plan to deliver across our landholdings within that Bigger Waters and Harbour Town precinct.
“We believe this type of product is really what the market is looking for.”
Lewis Land Group sees Harbour Shores as a strategic investment in the broader Harbour Town precinct, with further investment planned by the group for the destination retail centre.
The company has affirmed that Harbour Town Gold Coast remains a core asset for the group, despite plans to sell its sister property in Adelaide.
McCarron says the sale process for Adelaide is continuing, with a transaction providing the company an opportunity to ‘reweight’ its portfolio.
“Harbour Town Gold Coast is a core group asset, particularly when you look at a project like Harbour Shores, which is just across the road.
“Harbour Town Gold Coast was the first outlet centre in Australia, and it was developed by Bernard Lewis, so it’s an essential part of our group.”
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