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Homestead to get new life

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 25/03/2014
Grant Arbuckle
Simon Maude

COMING ATTRACTION: Grant Arbuckle says converting the 1898 homestead into a cafe will help the new resthome connect with locals.

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A company building a retirement village in Glenfield has spent thousands of dollars moving a historic house just a few metres.

Metlifecare plans to build 96 apartments and 36 assisted care rooms around the house on the 1.18 hectare site.

Grant Arbuckle, the company's general manager for development, says the house will be turned into a cafe.

The company wants to "give something back" to the local community, he says.

Originally built in 1898 by the Dickson family, the Stanley Rd farmhouse had numerous extensions added by the time Metlifecare bought it from the Cox family in 2011.

Between those years, the farmlet the house sat on had been gradually reduced from seven acres to less than three through selloffs.

When Metlifecare began work on the site, demolition crews pared the house back to its original size before a house moving-truck shuffled it sideways to its new foundations.

An archaeologist, paid for by the company, was on hand to document any finds during the move but found nothing of significance.

Metlifecare is spending $40 million on developing the sloping property, considered wasteland in the 1890s, which overlooks Glenfield College.

Michelle Wainhouse, sales executive for the company, says the development, which is due to open in 2015, is already well-subscribed with people buying off the plans.

Glenfield has an "under supply" of retirement complexes, Mr Arbuckle says.

"People don't like to move that far" from where they lived their lives, he says.

Getting resource consent for the development "wasn't smooth", but the local community has been accommodating because providing intensive housing for the elderly has "significantly lower impact", Mr Arbuckle says.

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