Summerset confirms golf club plans

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 13:15 23/11/2012
Boulcott's Farm Golf Course
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ

Retirement care company Summerset has confirmed it is in talks to buy surplus land at Boulcott's Farm Heritage Golf Club in Lower Hutt.

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Retirement care company Summerset has confirmed reports that it is in talks to buy part of a Lower Hutt golf course for a new village.

Yesterday the Dominion Post reported that members of Boulcott's Farm Heritage Golf Club had voted on a proposal to sell land left surplus after the building of a stopbank through the land to Summerset.

General manager John Freer confirmed the vote but declined to comment on the deal.

Since the report was published shares in Summerset surged from $2.04 on Wednesday night - equal to its record closing price - to $2.23 when Summerset confirmed the report today.

In a statement to the NZX Summerset said it ''notes an article in the Dominion Post published on 22 November 2012 regarding the possible purchase of a section of land from the Boulcott Farm Heritage Golf Club by the company''.

''In light of the speculation, Summerset confirms that it has entered into a conditional contract to purchase this land. Approval from the Club members was received on Monday 19 November to proceed with the contract.

''Summerset is now in a period of due diligence and further announcements will be made should this proceed.''

On Wednesday Summerset confirmed it had bought a new site in Auckland, as it prepared to ramp up its build rate ahead of its prospectus targets.

The new Lower Hutt site in question is understood to be about three hectares, which would accommodate a substantial retirement village development.

Chief executive Norah Barlow declined to comment on the possible deal on Wednesday, but did not dispute that talks were under way.

"We see that Hutt Valley has a lot to offer a company like Summerset. It's generally an under-villaged area, it's pretty land-locked, there isn't a lot of space available," she said.

"Sites that are close to hospital, close to a golf course, are sites which anyone would wish to have."

Summerset is not the only aged-care company striking deals for real estate in Hutt Valley. In July, Ryman, another listed retirement village company, announced plans for a $100 million development on the site of the former Hutt Valley Memorial Technical College, which later became Petone College.

Ryman managing director Simon Challies said Lower Hutt had been "under-serviced dramatically" by retirement villages.

Contact Hamish Rutherford
Business reporter
Email: hamish.rutherford@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @oneforthedr

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- The Dominion Post

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