As the largest privately-owned development, construction and real estate investment business in Australia, Grocon has built a reputation for delivering complex large-scale development projects that strike a balance between form and function. On the Gold Coast, Grocon is in the midst of one of its largest development projects yet: the Parklands Project in Southport, Queensland.
“We are proud to be investing, developing and constructing the Parklands Project into a vibrant mixed use community, which will be one of the most significant urban renewal developments ever undertaken on the Gold Coast,” said Steven Grimes, Grocon Parklands Project General Manager.
The Grocon Parklands Project is a key part of the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct, a $5 billion development across 200 hectares in Southport. Already home to Griffith University the cutting-edge Gold Coast University Hospital, and Gold Coast Private Hospital. Grocon’s contribution to the district will be a mixed-use village featuring 1,252 one, two and three-bedroom dwellings (18 apartment towers and 82 townhouses), a regional Shopping Centre with 18 retail and dining outlets with a full line supermarket, and seven hectares of public park space around a ‘Village Heart’.
“Everything we do is driven by our core values of Safety, Sustainability, Community and Innovation,” said Grimes. “The Parklands Project provides a showcase of bringing our values to life.”
A sustainable approach
“Our aim is simple: to leave our planet in a better place than we found it,” said Grimes. “That means every project always contributes to a greener future.”
The Parklands Project is no exception, with a design and vision incorporating industry-wide best practices for sustainability, community engagement, and environmental protection from construction to completion.
To encourage ecosystem rehabilitation, Grocon is reinstating natural landscaping and connections to adjoining forests within the seven-hectare public park at the center of the Parklands development. Grocon also weaves sustainability and energy efficiency concepts into its apartment and townhouses designs, from towers built to enhance natural sunlight and natural cooling breezes to LED lighting fixtures and smart appliances in every home. Furthermore, Parklands homes are built to meet Livable Housing Design guidelines for more inclusive and accessible living spaces.
These efforts have not gone unnoticed. The EnviroDevelopment scheme, produced by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), certified the Parklands Project’s sustainable development status across five categories: sustainability of ecosystems, waste, energy, materials, water and community. Meanwhile Grocon has partnered with the Queensland Government to achieve a Livable Housing Silver standard for Parklands townhouses and Livable Housing Gold for its apartments.
A valued workforce
An extensive undertaking like the Parklands Project requires an equally extensive staff—the Parklands Project will have 1,000 workers on site at the peak of construction, with a total of nearly 10,000 involved throughout the design and construction process. Grocon recognises that each individual is crucial to the success of the project, and strives to create a workplace where employees and subcontractors can feel valued and empowered.
“We want our people to feel they can make a difference – to our business and to the world around them,” said Grimes. “We believe that providing an enjoyable working environment is how we can best help our people achieve their personal and career goals, and so that’s exactly what we do. We maintain a positive work place through providing an ethics and values-based organisation, open two-way communication and a cultural and behavioural framework of capability. We are committed to encouraging personal development, recognising good performance, valuing teamwork and fostering an environment of equal opportunity.”
Grocon also values the safety of its workforce, using methods and materials like polymer formwork from Dincel Construction System to reduce the hazardous tasks workers are faced with every day. With an industry leading OHS policy certified to AS 4801:2001, the company strives to maintain a work site that is not only positive but also 100 per cent LTI injury-free.
“Our teams actively participate in site based safety interactions where by staff interact directly with the workforce to encourage and foster a positive safety culture,” Grimes added. “But to us, safety is also about more than zero harm—it’s also about providing wellbeing programmes that achieve better health outcomes for all of our employees. We drive a safety culture to lead the construction industry.”
A lasting legacy
The Parklands Project by Grocon has a bright and colorful future ahead of it—Grocon is currently on track to complete construction by the end of 2017, at which time the complex will be leased to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC). The residences within the Parklands Project will serve as the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Village, housing 6,600 athletes and officials while drawing attention to the project and the Gold Coast’s potential as a leader in sustainable design.
“We are proud to be able to deliver Parklands Project as a sustainable and vibrant mixed-use community for the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct.” said Grimes. “The village heart and residential village are staged to become iconic international landmarks in sustainable design.”
After the Commonwealth Games, Grocon will then go back in to transition the Parklands to its final form as a mixed use residential community, outfitting the apartments and townhouses with final touches before making them available for lease in 2019. While this marks the end of heavy development, Grocon expects that the impression the Parklands Project makes on the Gold Coast and Queensland will be a lasting one.
Grimes concluded: “Our hope is that the Parklands Project will provide a valuable legacy to the Gold Coast community—to become a benchmark sustainable community development that will inspire future projects.”