Last week I had the great pleasure of welcoming the owners on the completion of one of our projects. The day was a culmination of 12 years of pre-planning, approvals and delivery. The sense of satisfaction and relief with the project must have been palatable as a sense of pride welled up and overflowed into my welcoming words to the owners:
“We always start with a project vision for any project. Our vision for the Flour Mill of Summer Hill was a community that was caring and inclusive, an environment that ensured connectivity, fostered physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing”.Grant Flannigan, Development Director
This community will evolve for the next 100 years and each of us has a role to play in adding and taking from what this community is and can be. In my mind, creating the physical environment is a means to achieving an end.
Fast forward a week to the Urban Developer Awards for Industry Excellence and we received the great honour of being announced as Development of the Year for New Communities. Any award in the development industry is hotly contested. Every project, and the recognition that comes with it, raises the bar so much higher for the industry and the expectations within the community.
Announcing the Flour Mill of Summer Hill as Development of the Year for New Communities is particularly rewarding. Though it’s been humbling to receive recognition for achievements in architecture, landscaping, heritage and contributions to the built environment, these benchmarks have a sense of finality that comes when the red ribbon is snipped. The New Communities award is exciting because it speaks, instead, of the future.
It is less about what was built and more about what the community has become and can be. It is a recognition for the community engagement – to understand the resident’s wants and needs and deliver on the promise of more than a house but a home. To lead the way with activation strategies that are bespoke and sustainable. To reach out to the wider community, to be welcomed and be welcoming.
It is not just the grand gestures of amenity and activations. It can be the spontaneous moments – the offer and acceptance of help when it is needed, the acknowledgement of a neighbour (or even a stranger). This is the truer essence of community.
Our great friends and Joint Venture Partners at Daiwa House and Cosmos share our passion for the community. Without their continued support for what is possible, the development would not have achieved the recognition that it rightly deserves. For this I am thankful.
In writing this, I feel that my pride is overflowing again and I am okay with that. It is not just reward for EG or Daiwa or Cosmos, the real beneficiaries are the residents of the Flour Mill of Summer Hill. They will continue to benefit long after the award is forgotten on the shelf.