It was the era of English migration. There was a real demand for affordable housing – families from the other side of the world were starting new lives, and providing a much needed skill base for a growing Adelaide. Gordon Pickard saw it as an opportunity – he would build homes that the average person could afford, homes that were designed for family life, and homes that would last. With the help of his wife, Christine, Gordon began Fairmont Homes from their home in Campbelltown.
Six years down the track, Gordon and Christine had a small army of contractors on their books, and demand for Fairmont Homes was growing. The Pickard home was becoming more of an office than a residence, and Fairmont Homes needed a professional, commercial space. So, the decision was made, and the business moved to the Campbelltown shopping centre.
Now very well established as a builder, Fairmont Homes began the next phase in its evolution with a foray into land development. A small parcel of land in Athelstone was purchased and subdivided. In the process, the Fairmont home & Land package was created.
Demand for quality, affordable homes was at an all-time high, and Fairmont Homes had expanded its range of designs to meet that demand. It was decided the best way for new buyers to experience the Fairmont difference was to build display homes. A site at Smart Road, St Agnes was chosen, and two homes were built. It was a novel idea in 1980, and people flocked to the homes. For the first time, buyers could experience their Fairmont home before it was built.
By this time, Fairmont Homes was a hugely successful company. It engendered a need to give back to the Adelaide community – the people who had helped build that success. In conjunction with Channel 9 and Telethon, Fairmont Homes built the first Telethon Home, and it became one of Adelaide’s largest charity fundraisers. It was a relationship that would last for the next 10 years.
It was sometime during this year, somewhere in South Australia, that the ten-thousandth Fairmont home was built. By this time a generation had passed, and the children of original buyers were now building with Fairmont Homes.
The volume of homes was still increasing, and there was a huge demand for land. Fairmont Homes now had the resources to purchase and develop significantly larger sized plots of land. The first of these – Walkley Heights in the north of Adelaide, and Sheidow Park in the south – were subdivisions of over 600 allotments.
After 35 years of operating from Campbelltown, Fairmont Homes moved into their purpose-built, multi-storey head office on North Terrace in Adelaide’s CBD. It was a bitter-sweet occasion leaving behind the old premises – it had been such an integral part of the growth and development of the company.
For some years the old ETSA (Electricity Trust) building opposite the South Parklands of Adelaide had remained unoccupied and dormant. Fairmont Homes believed it had fantastic residential potential, and purchased the 10 storey building with the intention of transforming it into luxury apartments. In 2005 that intention was realised, and Air Apartments went on sale to the public. Ranging from single bedroom studios to multi-level penthouse suites, Air set a new standard in apartment living.
Just as Fairmont home buyers have progressed naturally from generation to generation, so did the ownership of Fairmont Homes. In 2004, Gordon’s son, David, who already owned a successful home building company, acquired Fairmont Homes. It was a happy day for father and son, and marked the beginning of a new era for what is now known as the Fairmont Group.
Two significant land development tenders were won by The Fairmont Group – Seaford Meadows in Adelaide’s southern suburbs and Blakeview Grove to the north of the city. The Fairmont Group approached these developments with the idea of creating better communities. To that end, these developments have incorporated commercial hubs, medical and childcare centres, and large amounts of open land and reserves.
After 40 years of residential building, the Fairmont Group ventured into the world of commercial building. The proven principles of design, quality and affordability were successfully applied to the construction of nursing homes, medical centres, community centres and sporting clubs. This led to a partnership with the South Australian Government for the formation of an Affordable Housing pilot programme.
It was another big year for the Fairmont Group: home number 20,000 was built in South Australia, and, for the first time, the company began developing in Brisbane’s North.
The Fairmont Group won the tender to develop two more massive land releases. Large enough to be classified as suburbs, Seaford Heights, south of Adelaide, and Munno Para, to the north, mark another milestone in the company’s growth, and its ability to set new standards in urban development. Seaford Heights is Adelaide’s first carbon-managed housing community.
2013 was a fantastic year for Fairmont Group, with records broken in many areas. 718 blocks of land were sold in SA and QLD, and 1,100 homes were built in South Australia.
Fairmont Group begins it's fifth development North of Brisbane. The new development will have over 400 allotments near the beautiful Freshwater Creek.
The Fairmont Group remains Adelaide’s leading land developer and builder. Currently we have many active land estates in South Australia and Queensland, and we are constantly updating our huge range of residential designs. As we move forward, we are looking at new ways to make housing more affordable to more people. By staying at the forefront of innovative development and design, we can see no boundaries to achieving this goal.