A MAJOR development in the heart of New Norfolk in intended to deliver the best of both worlds – a fully refurbished commercial property and four apartments. The former supermarket building at 38 High St has been vacant for a decade but work recently started on what is planned to be a vibrant addition to the town’s shopping strip.
The Mohamad family has owned the building for nearly three decades and expects the 564sqm commercial site will be complete by the middle of next year, and upstairs apartments should be ready for occupancy by the end of next year.
Project spokesman Youssef Mohamad said his family anticipated many years ago that New Norfolk and its surrounding districts would become a popular region to live and work in, and they were keen to be part of the resurgence.
“We felt the town would take off, which it has done, and now we are building accommodation for people who want to live in the heart of the town and have direct access to the town’s services,” Mr Mohamad said. “There are a lot of people in the area who don’t drive and the apartments will give them direct and immediate access to essential shops and services,” he said.
“The lower level of the building has always been a commercial operation and I anticipate it will be tenanted by someone who wants to establish an independent supermarket that will provide fresh fruit and vegetables along with niche products.
“The two and three-bedroom apartments upstairs will be spacious and comfortable, each will have a good-sized balcony, and two will have unique internal entertainment areas. The internal entertainment areas will be outside but protected from the wind, which will give tenants the ideal settings to entertain family and friends.”
Mr Mohamad said New Norfolk’s demographics had transformed dramatically during the past five years and the family believed the time was right to meet growing demand. “Most people wouldn’t have dreamt of building something like this in New Norfolk 20 years ago but things have changed,” he said.
Mr Mohamad said his family was passionate about the region and thrilled to engage the services of local building firm Falkner Constructions to work on the project. “We undertook a thorough process before deciding Justin and his team were the best people for the job, and we are very happy with the way he has embraced the project.
“Things are never perfect when you are dealing with an older building but Justin always has a practical solution if a problem arises. I have dealt with a lot of builders and Justin’s project management skills are second to none. We wanted to employ local tradesmen for this job and Justin and his team haven’t let us down.”
Mr Mohamad said his family had strong links with New Norfolk and was keen to maintain those ties. “My aunty had a business in the town 40 years ago and I established a successful accounting firm in the town several years ago,” he said. “My family has had a connection with New Norfolk for four decades and the High St property is an important part of that.
“We believe in giving back to the community and this project is another example of that commitment. There are not enough rental properties in the area at the moment and the new apartments will go part way to addressing that.”
Mr Mohamad said the High St development would encourage others to establish additional businesses in the town, which in turn would provide even more services for locals. He urged the council and other government bodies to create and plan for additional infrastructure to allow the town to continue to grow.
“That in turn will ensure people continue living and working in the region,” Mr Mohamad said. “New Norfolk reached a bit of a fork in the road a few years ago and could have gone in a few directions. But now it’s a prosperous town and its future looks very bright.”