A Commitment to Leaving a Local Legacy: Meet Drew Group’s Jonathan Drew

Jonathan Drew’s connection to his local community goes much further than a typical developer. Better known as Jon, he is the Managing Director of Drew Group who are behind Main Beach’s new apartment development, Lagoon.

With Drew Group’s offices just around the corner from Lagoon on Tedder Avenue, and Jon’s own home less than a kilometre away, he lives and breathes the area. Driven by a strong sense of community responsibility that permeates not just the sustainability targets for Lagoon, but also personal philanthropic endeavours, Jon is well on his way to leaving a legacy for Main Beach and the Gold Coast itself.

Driving a sustainable approach to Lagoon

Drew Group are targeting a 6-star rating from the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) for Lagoon. NatHERS provides energy ratings for new dwellings to help create energy efficient, resilient and comfortable homes for the future. Residents can look forward to long-term benefits from energy efficiencies and cost savings, and Drew Group are ensuring they won’t have to pay more in the short and long term.

“There is certainly a challenge in bringing the cost of sustainability into a development, but we will maintain a market-driven cost base,” Jon says.

With a desire to forever call the Gold Coast home, three sons in a local school and friends living in previous buildings he has developed, Jon’s commitment to doing his best by the community is non-negotiable.

“It’s something that’s important to me,” Jon says. “Implementing a sustainable practice aligns with the value of looking after the community you belong to and its future – not just in the building itself, but the surrounding areas.

The last thing you want to do is drive past something you won’t be proud of.”

These are just some of the elements of Lagoon’s design that will contribute towards the NatHERS target:

  • A bio-retention system that filters stormwater and reuses it to irrigate the significant landscaping throughout Lagoon.
  • AC units positioned on every floor, rather than all on the roof, not only freeing the rooftop for solar panels but reducing the copper piping required.
  • A rooftop solar panel system that will then feed energy back into building to assist in powering communal facilities, thereby reducing ongoing body corporate rates for residents.
    Future proofing through pre-wiring for electric vehicle chargers
From the pool area and ground floor spaces to the penthouse, Lagoon’s extensive landscaping will be irrigated by stormwater.

The floorplans of the apartments themselves have also been considered, with a cross-ventilation design reducing the air-conditioning required.

“Our focus was on thoughtful design that optimised sunlight and natural ventilation, pared with interiors inspired by the stunning Gold Coast surrounds,” Danny Juric, Director of Plus Architecture, says.

“We take pride in our responsibility to make a positive contribution to Main Beach.”

Actively giving back to the local community

In his personal life, Jon is just as committed to having a positive impact on the community. He has been involved in Gold Coast based initiative the Men of Business Academy (MOB Academy) from the start, investing and helping friend and founder Marco Renai raise funds to get the school off the ground.

MOB Academy is a senior secondary school catering for boys who aren’t engaged with the mainstream school system, by promoting a workforce- and career-focused education with a formalised health and wellbeing program. It opened two years ago with an intake of 80 boys, and now hosts 180.

In addition to the daily program, a number of businesswomen and men across the Gold Coast also host group sessions and mentoring, on topics from how to get involved in the building industry to bettering yourself as a presenter.

“A lot of these boys just need to learn how to develop some confidence,” Jon says. “You would be surprised how small words they haven’t heard before make a massive difference. That’s when you see the work and effort you put in come to fruition.”

Perry Cross, founder of Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation

Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation is another organisation that Jon is involved with. Perry Cross is a close friend who went to school with Jon; at nineteen, Perry broke his neck playing rugby and became a quadriplegic. He has since started the not-for-profit organisation to find a cure for paralysis.

“Through stem cell research performed at Griffith University, we are now $5 million away from human trials. Of that, the foundation needs to raise about $3.5 million, and we are halfway there,” Jon says. “The reality is the cure could be much closer than we thought, at least for certain injury types.”

Jon has been a key supporter of the foundation, helping to bring recognition and funding from bigger corporations, with a recent fundraising gala dinner raising close ­to $1.2 million. You can donate to the foundation here.

Ultimately, for Jon, the connections between his work and the community are clear.

“It stems down to a commitment to family, and to what that means when you build and live in the area that you develop in,” Jon says.

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