• Tony Bosworth

Take a look at Kurrajong’s $7.9m shopping centre – 4 levels, 9 shops, 40 parking spots & restaurant

Updated: Aug 27

“We love our district,” says developer Michael Kulakovski of Kurmond Homes, the new owners of a prime slice of real estate in Kurrajong’s main street and he says his company will prove it with “an iconic, nice, building. It’ll blend in and be for the whole community.”

Last week we revealed the Development Application has gone into Hawkesbury Council for the new $7.9million development on 87 Old Bells Line of Road and now we bring you exclusively this artist’s impression of the planned new shopping centre which will be built within 18 months if the project gets the go-ahead from planning authorities.

We sat down – virtually of course - with Mr Kulakovski and Kurmond Homes Design Manager Matt Gainsford to talk about the new build, which they say will help Kurrajong cope with ever-increasing visitors to the region and will add to the village’s ambience.

Michael (left) and Peter Kulakovski of Kurmond Homes

Mr Kulakovski and brother Peter – who co-own Kurmond Homes - bought the sloping block through Bennett Property real estate in Kurrajong – it was on sale for $790,000 and sold in April - and they plan for the new four-storey building to be home to as many as nine shops, one of them big enough to be a sizeable supermarket. Mr Kulakovski says the current IGA supermarket – Kurrajong’s one and only supermarket - will, “get first choice”.

The other shops will vary in size from what Mr Kulakovksi says will be potential ‘boutique-type’ shops - there’s even a small kiosk in the plans too – on the ground floor, with potentially larger shops on level 1.

There will also be at least one restaurant or café – the plans cater for three potentially - overlooking the striking views at the back of the development.

The levels…

At the ground level, there will be shops and the main restaurant, with a rear terrace for sitting and taking in the view.

On the first floor, the plans show two larger shops and potentially two more restaurants or cafes, though those could change to shops depending on business demand.

The lower two levels will effectively be underground – housing the parking for 40 cars at the lowest level, called basement 2, where there are also three small shops on the plan – with the planned supermarket taking up most of the space in basement 1, with customer car parking there too - though Mr Gainsford said rather than a supermarket it could even turn out to be a large fresh fruit and vegetable market, for example – it entirely depends who is interested in moving in.

The concept plans for the new development - courtesy of Kurmond Homes

Mr Kulakovski makes no apologies for the striking nature of the planned building, saying we need to move with the times.

“There is more traffic because more people are visiting Kurrajong and there are more people moving into the area. Where are all these people going to shop?” he asks.

He points to the subdivisions which have taken root in the Kurrajong area and says that’s leading to more people.

“The smaller shops can’t handle that influx into the village,” he said. He also pointed to parking concerns in the village, especially on weekends when he says people from the city often visit.

“It’s about safety and the environment. There will be plenty of parking and plenty of seating. The parking will make it safer for people to get to the shops.”

We asked if he thought the new cafes or restaurants the company is proposing would take business away from current eateries and he said he didn’t believe so, pointing to the number of successful cafes along Richmond’s main street, coupled with the rising numbers of people visiting Kurrajong.

“We want to work with the community because we live in this area too, we are no different to anyone else here,” said Mr Kulakovski.

And Mr Gainsford said, “it’s very important to maintain the feel and design of the area. The building will blend nicely into the landscape and become something that reflects the village.

“These guys are not just developers,” he says. “They are just two country kids who have grown up in the area. They are a small business that has done well.”

Mr Kulakovski and his siblings grew up in the Hawkesbury – his mother was born in Agnes Banks - where the family farmed in the Castlereagh Agnes Banks area. Both Michael and Peter started out in the building trade as carpenters before launching Kurmond Homes which is now very successful and employs 70 staff full-time.

And Mr Kulakovski says he’s definitely got the best interests of the community at heart.

“We want to provide facilities that everyone can enjoy with safety and a great environment,” he says.

If the project gets the green light, Kurmond Homes will put the build out to tender to builders who specialise in commercial builds, they are not planning to construct it themselves.

Once the project has been assessed by Hawkesbury Council staff, who may make recommendations, and public consultation has been completed – all these dates are unknown at this stage – the application will go to the Sydney Western City Planning Panel where five or more unelected panel members will decide on the final go-ahead or refusal for the project.

Hawkesbury councillors can take a position on the proposed development – and put their views in the public domain - if it is brought up in the council chamber, but otherwise councillors are essentially part of the public consultation phase, they don’t decide DAs at all over $5m.

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