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Greenlane retirement village welcomed

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 05:00 31/07/2014

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A plan by Ryman Healthcare to build a $100 million retirement village in Greenlane, Auckland, has received a tentative thumbs-up from former All White footballer Fred de Jong, who lives nearby.

Ryman is also planning a $120m project at Rangiora, just north of Christchurch.

At its annual meeting, which took place in Waikanae yesterday, Ryman said it had bought the former Kingsgate Hotel site in Campbell Rd in Greenlane.

The 1.7 hectare site will be redeveloped as a village with apartments and care services.

Managing director Simon Challies said after the meeting that Ryman had bought five sites in Auckland over the past year, and Campbell Rd was the last of them to be announced.

"We've been looking at the area around Greenlane and Epsom for quite a long time. We've got it in for resource consent now. It will be notified very shortly and with any luck we can start work next year."

In 2005, de Jong, who is a member of the Logan Park Community Group, opposed a proposal by the Marlin Group development company to add a floor to the hotel and build a pavilion bar and cafe and separate apartment block.

Yesterday, de Jong said, "We [the community group] knew Ryman had bought [the site], which we were reasonably pleased about, depending on what they wanted to do."

He said the group would have to see the plans before it could consider giving its full approval.

"Pretty much everyone's bought their properties backing on to a hotel, originally. You can't complain about the size and footprint of what you bought next to . . . [but] it all depends on how intensive it is."

In 2011, the partly refurbished hotel was put up for grabs in a mortgagee sale after plans for redevelopment fell through. The price tag was $17m, and the hotel had 220 rooms and a floor area of more than 11,000 square metres, according to reports three years ago.

New Zealand's largest retirement village operator has also bought a site in Oxford Rd, Rangiora. Ryman chairman David Kerr told shareholders "the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes changed the dynamics of Christchurch and Canterbury, and turned the Waimakariri into one of the country's fastest-growing regions".

Early this month, Ryman also announced plans for a "boutique retirement village" on Wellington's old Tip Top bread factory site.

It was "too early" to say how many residents the village would be designed for, but the site was a lot smaller than the planned accommodation in Petone, which would have up to 400 residents, a spokesman said.

In May, NZX-listed Ryman reported an annual net profit of $195m, up from $136.7m in the year to March 31, 2013, boosted by $85.1m valuation gains on its properties and business.

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Ryman said an "underlying profit" of $118m - excluding the revaluations of property, and up 18 per cent from $100.2m in the previous year - was thanks to a buoyant property market and strong demand for retirement-village living.

- The Dominion Post

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