It's the milestone that has been 18 years in the making: the first completed sale of a block in the former South Tralee, now South Jerrabomberra, housing estate which saw two of Canberra's business titans at war for a decade.
Sharzreena and Rahimat Ali settled on their block on Maidenhair Road, South Jerrabomberra, on May 28, making them the first official buyers in the estate.
The Alis, who have two children, hope to be in their two-storey, six-bedroom house by Christmas, pending building approval for their house from the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.
They are glad they hung in to secure a block for their dream home, especially as, in the interim, the council has announced plans for a regional sports complex on their doorstep and the NSW government also has plans to build a high school for Jerrabomberra.
"It's a wonderful feeling. It's great. We've been waiting for it and as soon as we knew we could settle, we went ahead," Mrs Ali said.
South Jerrabomberra is being developed just across the border in NSW in two stages - 650 homes in the first, which has been approved, and 600 homes in the second, which is still to be approved. The development includes apartments, townhouses and detached homes.
Estate developer the Village Building Company says 565 blocks of land have been sold in the first stage of the estate and by the end of this month, 235 are expected to be settled. Up to 500 blocks would be settled by the end of the year.
The Village Building Company is also building 30 homes on the estate, due to be completed in July and settlements due take place in August.
Village Building Company chief executive Travis Doherty said residents should be moving into those 30 homes by late August or early September.
All up, a community of more than 3500 people could be living at the completed South Jerrabomberra estate within four years, he said.
"It's great to see the dream realised," Mr Doherty said.
"Overall, I'm very relieved. And tired. What it means is that for 18 years we've been spending money and borrowing money and last Friday [the day of the first settlement] was the first dollar of income, cash coming in the door, for this project. And that's been hard work. To date it's probably been a $150 million investment and there's more to go."
The former South Tralee housing estate was first mooted by the Village Building Company's now retired founder, Bob Winnel in 2003 when the land was purchased.
The development is adjacent to the Hume industrial estate and south of the Canberra airport, and includes a protected ridge that has views out across Canberra and Queanbeyan. It covers 135 hectares, with residential development allocated to about 55 hectares.
South Jerrabomberra has also been identified as one of four regional jobs precincts by the NSW government.
Under its previous name of South Tralee, the estate was subject to fits and starts over the first decade due to Winnel's determination to build the estate, set hard up against the Canberra Airport's efforts to stop it.
The airport, led by managing director Stephen Byron, believed the housing estate would stymie its growth.
A truce was reached in 2013; the houses would go ahead but each sale contract would include a clause in which buyers would acknowledge the estate would be subject to airport noise.
The contracts state: "The vendor discloses that the property is subjected to aircraft noise at any time by the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week passenger, freight and defence aircraft flight operations arriving and departing Canberra Airport.
"The frequency of aircraft movements and the size of aircraft are forecast to increase indefinitely into the future. It is the responsibility of the landowners to noise attenuate their property to ensure their amenity as Canberra Airport will remain curfew-free."
Mr Doherty said South Jerrabomberra would not experience any worse aircraft noise than the adjoining community of Jerrabomberra.
"We're not under the flight path. We are not under the flight path. We are not under the flight path," he said.
It has also not stopped interest in the estate.
The blocks in the first stage of the estate have been selling for $300,000 to $500,000 each.
The blocks start at 375 square metres and go to 600 square metres. Blocks in the second stage, now subject to a development application with the council, include some more than 1500 square metres and have yet to be priced.
While South Jerrabomberra has been scaled down from the heady heights of 7500 homes proposed in the original South Tralee development, Mr Doherty said it was a reflection of the tenacity of Mr Winnel and the Village Building Company.
"We're persistent and resilient and, contrary to popular belief, development is hard. But we, importantly, saw the vision for what was possible and are passionate about delivering it," he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Byron said this week he hadn't thought about the estate for nine years, since the NSW government approved the rezoning in 2012.
He believed compromises had been made on both sides and the critical factor for the airport was the contract spelling out clearly to potential buyers about the existence of the aircraft noise.
"So, the deal is they won't complain," Mr Byron said, this week.
The NSW government's Joint Regional Planning Panel in 2018 approved a development application for South Jerrabomberra stage one which would allow for the development of the first 318 housing lots and nine medium density sites enabling about 600 dwellings.
The second stage is yet to be approved.
The estate is now a network of roads and blocks, with Mr Doherty saying the housing had to wait for the infrastructure to be in place.
A northern entry road - Environa Drive - had to be built, as well as a bridge over Jerrabomberra Creek. The council and state government funded the main road connecting with Topsitt Drive. A $15 million water reservoir had also been put in place. A community centre, town park, outdoor dining precinct including cafes are also in the plans.
Mr Doherty said he expected a diverse, family-orientated community to be created, that was an extension of Jerrabomberra.
He said as little as two years ago, he believed South Jerrabomberra would take eight years to complete,
"But the way the market is going at the moment, if we can keep construction and work up to date, this could be a thriving community with 1250 homes and people living in them within three or four years," he said.
The next land releases for South Jerrabomberra are expected in September.
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