Ronnie Tarabay, builder/developer, La Vida

Act on the signs ...

The suburb of Newstead has risen from its industrial past, experiencing massive changes over the past decade. From its early European settler origins as government farmland to the boom of river-based industries and now an influx of residential and lifestyle developments, the result is now a merry mix of factories, sleek new apartment complexes and Brisbane’s oldest surviving residence. One of the new developments set to shoot skywards in Newstead is La Vida, comprising two master-planned apartment blocks topped with resort-style rooftop facilities. The Brisbane-based Bekaa Group is behind the sleek new digs, so The Weekend Edition caught up with builder/developer Ronnie Tarabay this week to talk all things building and Brisbane.

What’s one of the most important lessons you’ve learnt in your career so far?
Don’t make the same mistakes twice and act on the signs.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received or given?
If you’ve been blessed with success, you must give back – and it doesn’t necessarily have to be money, it can be with your time.

What do you love about your job?
Seeing the elation in people’s faces when I hand over the keys to their apartments.

What inspires your work?
Creating buildings that are functional and aesthetically pleasing.

What would be your dream project to work on?
Designing and building a high-rise building that allows your car to be parked in your apartment, no matter which level you’re on.

What do you hope your legacy will be?
Being the pioneer of incorporating rooftop pool and amenities in residential apartment complexes.

What are your essentials for a well-designed building?
Lots of glazing and spacious functional apartments.

The Bekaa Group has helped shape Brisbane’s urban landscape since the company launched in 2001. Which been your personal favourite project to work on so far?
La Vida Apartments – but each new project has its challenges and new learning experiences.

We can’t wait to see the final result of La Vida when construction is complete mid next year. How’s the project progressing?
We’re digging out the basements at the moment – being a builder/developer, we can build fast!

We’ve been eying off those twin rooftops, what other design features set this project apart?
Ducted air-conditioning, high ceilings of 2700 mm, designer kitchens, a choice between two colour schemes and the rooftop facilities with a pool, sauna, private residences and a barbecue lounge with ample dining and seating.

What was your greatest challenge in this project?
Being a large project, there’s a lot involved with building underground basements.

What’s your personal definition of ‘success’?
Being able to share my success with family and friends.

Perk up …
Laruche, Fortitude Valley.
Relax … Gerard’s Bistro, Fortitude Valley.
Dine … Hatch & Co. Newstead and Black Bird Bar & Grill, Brisbane City.
Catch-up … Gerard’s Bar & Charcuterie, Fortitude Valley.
Be inspired … standing on the rooftop of one of my buildings with views to the edges of Brisbane.


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