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Double retirement village development

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 10:21 18/12/2013

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Retirement village and aged care operator Summerset has bought two Christchurch sites to develop villages in a $200 million investment plan.

The sites are in Casebrook and Wigram and will be the company's first Christchurch villages.

The listed company said it would build more than 200 townhouses and villas for independent living at the Casebrook village, with care apartments for those with more advanced needs.

It would be located on a 9.7-hectare site in Casebrook, a fast-growing area north of Christchurch.

The Wigram village would be on 5.4ha and have more than 200 retirement units. It is near to the Wigram Skies residential subdivision development.

The purchase of the Wigram site is subject to subdivision of title.

Summerset said both villages would have a village centre, combining recreational facilities and a care centre providing rest home and hospital-level care.

Summerset chief executive Norah Barlow said the developments were part of the city rebuild.

"Christchurch is undergoing dramatic change and it's exciting to be part of that," she said.

"We're pleased to have found these sites after searching for many years in the region."

Summerset already had residents who had moved from Christchurch to Summerset's other locations throughout the country since the earthquakes.

"We're very pleased to be able to offer Cantabrians Summerset's range of retirement living options without having to leave the region or their families and friends."

Barlow is retiring but will stay on the board the listed company as a director. Summerset's chief financial officer, Julian Cook, will become chief executive when Barlow finishes in April.

Cook said there was significant pressure for quality, affordable housing in Christchurch, and those moving to a Summerset village would potentially free up homes in the city for younger families.

The two Christchurch sites brought the total number of greenfield sites in Summerset's portfolio to six.

"The company has strong growth objectives with Christchurch being an important part of this," Cook said.

Summerset is a competitor to Ryman Healthcare, which is headquartered in Christchurch and has a significant village base there.

Summerset shares last traded at $3.19.

Earlier this year it reported a half-year profit of $10 million, up 45 per cent from the same time last year.

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