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Central plots will be retirement villages

LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Last updated 07:54 13/08/2014
Tropicana farm
Lauren Priestley

CHANGE COMING: The farm off Tropicana Drive in Lynfield is one of the largest remaining blocks of undeveloped land in central Auckland.

Simon Challies
GOING UP: Simon Challies of Ryman Healthcare says it is a busy time in Auckland.

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Rocketing demand for senior living in central Auckland is creating a boom in retirement village construction.

Development sites in the works include the Tropicana farm in Lynfield and the old Kingsgate Hotel in Greenlane, purchased recently by Ryman Healthcare.

Managing director Simon Challies said it is a matter of snapping up large plots of land where facilities are needed.

He said most retirement village residents come from within a 5-kilometre radius.

"It's rare to get an opportunity to develop a big site in Auckland city proper," Challies said.

"We've got a lot on the drawing board at the moment.

"We've tried to work out which communities could do with a new village in terms of the future and what's available there right now."

Grey Power Northern representative Anne-Marie Coury said seniors are looking for different accommodation options.

Retirement villages are just one choice for seniors facing hefty rate increases and unmanageable properties.

"There is a housing crisis going on and, I believe, there is a particularly specific housing crisis for seniors.

"There is a lot of conversation within the senior community about finding places to downsize to," Coury said.

The 1.6-hectare Kingsgate Hotel site on Campbell Rd in Greenlane will be redeveloped at a cost of $100 million with work expected to begin in early 2015.

The 8.9ha farm off Tropicana Drive in Lynfield is one of the largest undeveloped blocks of residential land in Auckland. Developers hope to start construction there at the end of 2015 but none of the neighbours who spoke to the Central Leader had heard the land had been sold.

One Tropicana Drive resident, who asked not to be named, said she will be sad to see the green space go.

"It's a real shame. I love looking out and seeing all of that. Why haven't we been told anything?"

Puketapapa Local Board chairwoman Julie Fairey said the board has requested a meeting with the developers to discuss the site's heritage, ecological significance and transport links.

Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board chairman Simon Randall said the Campbell Rd development could be an asset if it is done right.

Developers will need to take into account the traffic, trees and the urban design of the local area, he said.

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- Central Leader

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