No stranger to overseeing major residential projects, Mildura builder and developer Bob Faulkhead’s latest venture has 44 housing blocks at Merbein.
Now released onto the market, the blocks have all of their services connected with road access, driveways and curbing expected to be completed within 10 weeks.
While he won’t be constructing all of the homes himself, Mr Faulkhead said his group may build up to eight of them.
Situated near Chaffey and Foster Streets, overlooking the Merbein Common, the size of the elevated blocks range up to 700 square metres and sell for between $85,000 and $90,000.
“I’m doing the raw development of this site, which I only purchased about 18 months ago, and I’m doing one in Wentworth as well,” Mr Faulkhead revealed.
“There has been a lot of interest from local realestate agents and so the land is already being sold.
“This is one of the few elevated sites in the district. A lot of local builders don’t like to build on elevated land because they aren’t experienced in that, unlike their counterparts in Sydney and Melbourne and other regional areas, where you have elevation everywhere.
“It costs more to build on an elevated sight as well, but there are people who have already purchased blocks here because it’s elevated. Having said that if you look around the district you do see a few elevated sites.”
Mr Faulkhead predicted Merbein is “the next growth area” and he expects the blocks to sell quickly.
“The fact is, places like Merbein, Wentworth and Red Cliffs haven’t really pushed ahead,” he said.
“However all of those three towns are well serviced with supermarkets, post office and banks and so on.
“When you look at Irymple with the renovations to the hotel and the building of the shopping centre with a big supermarket, a post office, newsagent, bakery and other shops – that is ready to boom.
“Mildura South is the next area that will take off, and the same will happen there and they will need the same amenities. A strategic plan has earmarked a supermarket for that region, which will end up having a catchment of 3000-4000 people in time. There are 200 houses there already, with estates continuing to be developed.”
Mr Faulkhead said that he thinks in time Fourteenth Street will be extended over Ontario Avenue through to Ranfurly Way, reducing the travel time to Merbein.
“I think at the end of the day it’s a little bit like Ontario, when I was growing up, it was never going to didn’t go all the way through like it does today, but eventually it did, and so hopefully one day someone will push for that to happen to Fourteenth Street. Currently you have to go via Eleventh or Seventeenth Streets and it would make a difference to the whole district if it was opened up.”
Mr Faulkhead said the development taking place in and around Mildura is unprecedented.
“I haven’t seen anything like it in my time. It has been helped by the Government First Home Buyers Grants, but it probably will slow up again, which would be unfortunate, because when something slows up, it’s hard to restart,” he said.
“Hopefully the infrastructure to support the ongoing expansion will be there when it’s needed as Mildura grows out in the South Mildura area because that benefits everyone.”