Business couple turn to property

Gill Luke, Ken Down and Mel Luke discuss plans for the apartments on site at First Bay Coolum.
Gill Luke, Ken Down and Mel Luke discuss plans for the apartments on site at First Bay Coolum. Erle Levey

THEY'RE well-known as the friendly faces behind the various Luke's Supa IGAs across the Sunshine Coast, and now revered business-heads Mel and Gill Luke are returning to Coolum Beach to make their property debut.

The move comes three decades after the duo relocated to the Sunshine Coast to take the reins of a small supermarket opposite Coolum Surf Club in 1986.

Three years later, the Lukes opened and grew the very successful Luke's Supa IGA Coolum Beach in Birtwill Street, which closed in 2011 due to site redevelopment.

Mrs Luke said their latest venture - a luxury, 24-apartment development overlooking First Bay - was the next chapter in what has been a long and rewarding connection to the Coolum area.

It sees Sunshine Coast architect Ken Down drawing on his love for the water - whether surfing or sailing - to include that knowledge into the project.

First Bay Coolum also reunites Mr Down with the area, having done the initial designs for the Coolum Surf Club.

That project was recognised for the way in which it adapted to the environment and its use of the beachfront site for community use.

The Lukes also immersed themselves in community events throughout the 30 years they spent retailing in Coolum.

These included such as the Coolum Kite Festival, and formed close relationships with various local community groups with Mel joining Rotary, the Coolum Beach Progress and Ratepayers Association and Coolum Business and Tourism (then the Chamber of Commerce) just to name a few.

"We consider the town very close to our hearts and really wanted to create a legacy that we and the broader community could be proud of when developing the First Bay site," Gill Luke said

"While we've been approached by numerous developers over the years hoping to build on the parcel of land, we've never felt the timing or the style of development proposed was quite right for the area, so we ultimately made the decision to develop it ourselves."

Mrs Luke said she and her husband had always felt that there was an opportunity to create something special in Coolum Beach, so seized the opportunity to buy a block of land in Coolum Terrace in 1998.

Since then, the couple has purchased four neighbouring blocks - two on David Low Way and two more on Coolum Terrace - giving them a collective 2876sq m to build their architecturally designed, beachfront development.

"The stretch of coastline surrounding First Bay is nothing short of spectacular, and our focus is very much on creating a premium development that complements the incredible views and showcases the beauty of the area," Mrs Luke said.

"We have been working closely with respected architect Ken Down to design First Bay Coolum which we see as a development that's designed and built by locals, for locals.

"The house-sized apartments are very much tailored for owner-occupiers rather than as investment properties or holiday rentals."

"Nothing quite beats waking up to the turquoise waters of First Bay, testing out the surf break, enjoying the beach or a taking a stroll into Coolum village via the wooden boardwalk."

"We are in the final stages of planning First Bay Coolum and look forward to revealing our vision for the development at the November launch.

"In the meantime, we're excited to have appointed an exceptional marketing team combining North Shore Realty's local knowledge with McGrath's national reach to form a great partnership to market these prestigious apartments."

The Lukes are well known for their award-winning customer service on the Sunshine Coast and have owned and operated a total of nine IGAs locally over the past three decades.  They have also been strong supporters of the community throughout their time on the Coast and were nominated as Citizens of the Year at local Australia Day celebrations in 2002.

First Bay Coolum will officially be launched at the beginning of November, construction is expected to commence before year-end and residents can look forward to spending Christmas 2018 in their new homes.

To find out more about First Bay Coolum, visit or call Todd McKee from McGrath Estate Agents on 0418 737 197 or Kerry Glover from North Shore Realty on 0408 714 270.

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