A Gem on the Gold Coast:

Emerald Lakes

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Construction companies complete many projects over the years, but there are always some that stand out more than others, due to their size, cost, complexity, or design. For Nifsan Pty Ltd, one of its largest and most spectacular projects remains the epic commercial and residential Emerald Lakes, a development located at Australia’s picturesque Gold Coast.

Founded by Japanese businessman Toshiaki Ogasawara in 1991, Nifsan Pty Ltd is one of his many accomplishments. In addition to serving or having served on the advisory boards of companies like Nike, Avon, and General Electric, he is Publisher and Chairman of The Japan Times – the country’s only independent English-language newspaper – and Honorary Chair of Nifco Inc, Japan’s premier manufacturer of plastic parts for auto and home appliances.

In 1999, work commenced on Emerald Lakes, a sprawling project estimated in the billion-dollar range. A massive planned community with eight stages of residential, retail, and office developments, Emerald Lakes features about 1,800 homes and apartments. Among the many outstanding features of the 37-hectare lake property are an 18-hole championship golf course, waterways, parklands, and numerous community facilities.

Since 1995, Nifsan has sold in excess of 1,500 homes in award-winning developments in South East Queensland. There are many reasons for the company’s success, including prime locations, amenities, landscaping, and of course, construction quality. The company utilises an exhaustive Quality Control Check List, taking into account both the interior and exterior of the structure. No details are spared, as dozens of points must be inspected for quality, including outdoor turf and plants, downpipes, garage door and locks, interior hallway plaster and paint, dining room carpeting, light switches, phone jacks, screen doors, even soap dishes. This brand and quality control system is key to Nifsan’s ongoing success, and ensures the company delivers nothing but the highest quality homes and after-sales service to its many discerning clients.

Quality – Gold Star Rating System

“All our apartments and houses fall under our gold star rating,” says Mark Grierson, General Manager of Developments for Nifsan. “They go through a long process of inspections, ensuring that we’ve got a check process, which is about 250 items, which are checked off in the sign-off process.” The process, says Grierson, is a significant investment for the company, but well worth the time and effort. “We have very little comeback from our owners, and I think that’s a testament to that whole process of going through this gold star rating,” he says. “It is very important to us.”

Nowhere is the company’s attention to detail more evident than the Emerald Lakes development. In addition to the creation of spectacular homes and apartments, the project is a reflection of Nifsan’s goal to create communities. Along with extensive community-based facilities, residents can enjoy the area’s many waterways, parklands, and other natural features. Along with the spectacular golf course, there is a driving range, tennis club, beach and boat ramp, sports fields, and over 11 km of walking and cycling paths.

Unlike some communities which involve a hefty commute, Emerald Lakes is strategically located in the heart of Australia’s Gold Coast, an area known for its magnificent beaches, scenic hinterland, fine restaurants, and countless attractions. Close to these and many other features, the development is also easily accessible to the M1 motorway Brisbane, just five minutes from the Nerang Rail link, and near to some of the best beaches in the world.

As the Gold Coast’s most dynamic master planned community, Emerald Lakes offers many unique, theme-based residences of distinction to their clients. Many, like The Cove, The Vistas, and Porto Bellago – a European-inspired Village Precinct with architecture evocative of Portofino in Italy – are sold out. The French Quarter is inspired by Paris, and features 109 apartments as well as retail and commercial components. No details have been spared, as the area incorporates distinctive French architecture, complete with wrought-iron balustrades and Mansard roofs. This exceptional attention to detail has helped make Nifsan one of Queensland’s most awarded master planning and building companies.

“Internally, awards are very important to a company from a morale point of view,” says Grierson. “People like to achieve, and they see a reward from all the work that they’re putting in. From the other side, it’s very good from a sales point of view. It assists in promoting an award-winning product. People would like to live in that type of environment where it’s been recognised. And the owners, they have pride in their product that has achieved awards.”

Since the company was founded almost two decades ago, Nifsan has garnered over 30 major state and national awards from the Urban Development Institute of Australia, the Housing Industry Association, and the Queensland Master Builders Association. Judged “˜Best in Queensland’ six times, Nifsan has also been named one of the top three development and building companies in Australia. By managing all stages of its developments, including site master planning, construction, and marketing of its properties, Nifsan’s 140 employees maintain quality control from start to finish on all their residential and commercial projects.

Sustainability – Green Star Rating System

With an eye to the future, developments within Emerald Lakes – such as the Town Centre, completed in late 2008 – were also designed with the environment in mind. The first multi-use buildings within the development, the Town Centre contains retail, commercial, and residential structures, and has achieved a four Green Star rating, as outlined by the Green Building Council of Australia. Creating an environmentally sustainable design, Nifsan’s Town Centre remains one of a very small group of buildings in South East Queensland to achieve this high rating. A national, voluntary environmental rating system under the Green Building Council of Australia, Green Star evaluates the environmental design and construction of buildings in the country, and is fast becoming important to promoting good business.

“We found that a lot of tenants in the Town Centre like to know that a building has a Green Star rating,” says Grierson. “We’ve definitely seen that change in the various tenants.” Some of the environmentally friendly design elements incorporated into the Town Centre include capturing and recycling stormwaters, and painting interiors with low-VOC paints (volatile organic compounds, vapours that can adversely affect the environment and health). In addition, the steel and concrete used in construction of the Town Centre contained a percentage of recycled material, and waste generated during the construction process was carefully separated so it could be recycled. “This is something that is demanded by the industry, and it definitely is something that is important in commercial buildings, because the client is definitely demanding it.”

By being able to identify desirable areas of the country, Nifsan has earned a reputation for producing quality residential and commercial areas across Australia. The same care the company put into the Emerald Lakes development will be evident in their next large project, The Harbourfront. A joint venture with Adelaide-based developer Urban Construct, The Harbourfront project is aimed toward making further inroads on the country’s Gold Coast. Along with the successfully developed adjacent projects Porto Bellago, Town Centre, and the French Quarter, the Harbourfront will contain 250 to 300 apartments, retail shops, and restaurants.

“This Harbourfront is going to be the heart and soul of the development,” says Grierson. “It brings the whole of the development together. It’s quite an important element of the Emerald Lakes estate, and we’re very keen to get that one up and running.” The project is at the design stage, and will likely be marketed for pre-sale between July and September, 2011. “It is probably the largest master plan project on the Gold Coast at the moment, and most successful at the moment. We have a great reputation for high quality products.”

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

July 16, 2020, 10:43 AM AEST