Ryman to spend $100m on Pukekohe village

Last updated 12:17 26/06/2014

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Ryman Healthcare is planning a $100 million retirement village in Pukekohe, south of Auckland.

The country's largest retirement village operator said today that it had bought a 6.58-hectare site in Valley Rd and was working on plans for a village it hoped to open next year.

It would include two and three-bedroom independent townhouses, apartments, an aged-care centre with rest home, dementia care and hospital care.

The listed company recently announced a second Melbourne site as it pushes further into the Australian retirement market.

It is building its first village at Wheelers Hill in Melbourne.

Ryman has a significant stock of New Zealand property.

Managing director Simon Challies said the company picked Pukekohe because it believed there was a shortage of amenities in the Franklin region for retirees.

"Franklin is home to Auckland's fastest-growing retired population," he said.

"The number of retirees has grown by 50 per cent to 9000 in the past seven years alone, which puts it on a par with cities such as Rotorua."

As well as construction work, the village will create about 100 long-term fulltime-equivalent jobs for the region, including for registered nurses, caregivers, housekeepers, activities co-ordinators and gardeners.

Ryman this year announced plans for eight new villages in New Zealand, spending about $100m on land for the villages.

Five of the villages would be in the Auckland region, where the company had been "relatively under-represented".
At least one site is in the South Island.

The projects included the already announced Birkenhead site in Auckland and a Petone site in Wellington.

The NZX-listed company said it had expanded its New Zealand land bank and would lift its building rate to 850 units and beds a year by 2017, double the rate it was building five years ago.

Franklin Local Board chairman Andy Baker said the Pukekohe project would be the largest development in the area that he could remember.

"It will encourage people to stay here rather than having to move out of the community they've been part of for a long time. It will also provide an economic boost," he said.

Ryman is expanding to keep up with demand as the population ages.

Statistics New Zealand estimates the number of New Zealanders aged 75-plus will almost triple to 731,000 over the next 30 years.

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