Archive | Gainz

Kiwi Property settles second Drury site purchase

Kiwi Property Group Ltd settled its acquisition of 30.6ha at Drury on Wednesday, after receiving approval from the Overseas Investment Office a week ago to proceed.

The company intends to create a new town centre next to Stevenson Group Ltd’s mostly industrial 360ha development site.

Kiwi’s 3 greenfield sites are next to the junction of the Southern Motorway, Great South Rd and the North Island main trunk railway line, 35km south of Auckland’s city centre.

Chief executive Chris Gudgeon said: “This brings our total landholdings to 42.7ha, at a purchase price of $39.8 million. A third land parcel of 8.6ha has been secured via a right of first refusal, with the purchase price to be determined with reference to the market when the right is exercised.

Earlier stories:
13 September 2017: Kiwi Property’s Drury buy approved
10 September 2017: Second round for Auranga precinct confirms Drury as major growth centre
7 April 2017: Kiwi Property plans new town centre next to Stevenson’s Drury development
30 August 2013: Drury South industrial area plan change & MUL extension approved

Attribution: Company release.

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H&M to lead retail revival at Queensgate

Swedish fashion & homegoods retailer H&M will open its third New Zealand store in October, leading in to the return & arrival of a large number of other retailers at the quake-hit Queensgate Shopping Centre in Lower Hutt.

Kiwi Property Group Ltd brought the Swedish listed company, H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB, to New Zealand first, opening an H&M store at its Sylvia Park shopping centre in Auckland a year ago. Philip Carter’s The Crossing development in Christchurch, which incorporates offices and food & beverage outlets in a precinct which combines new & restored heritage buildings, opened the second H&M this month.

Queensgate, managed by Stride Investment Management Ltd for the Diversified NZ Property Trust, will open its H&M on Thursday 26 October, in 2700m2 on 2 levels in the Centre Court.

The Diversified trust bought the former Westfield mall from Scentre Group (NZ) Ltd in August 2016. Part of it was closed after the Kaikoura earthquake in November and a portion of the carpark & its cinema complex were demolished. After a partial reopening, the centre was fully reopened in April.

Stride shopping centres general manager Roy Stansfield said on Wednesday the company was also readying sites at Queensgate for other new stores and stores that were returning, relocating & upgrading: “We expect many of these to be completed before the busy Christmas period. These include Skechers, Bed Bath N Table, Health 2000, Portmans, Merchant, Bed Bath & Beyond and Boost Juice.

Earlier story:
9 July 2017: H&M to open at Queensgate

Attribution: Stride release.

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An immigration pause – or a turning point?

The net annual inflow of migrants dropped back by 330 from July to August – not much, but 2 Australian indicators suggest it might be a turning point.

Those indicators (links below) are from Victoria, where demand for construction workers is increasing, and Western Australia, where recent minerals price shifts suggest the mining sector will soon start to pull out of its steep downturn.

Higher wages across the Tasman have long attracted Kiwis to Australia’s construction & mining sectors, and in the downturns many have come home. Prime Minister Bill English, apparently without paying attention to the unusual state of the Australian economy, expressed surprise during the election campaign at the high number of Kiwis coming home in this downturn. Mining exports collapsed.

An Australian upturn can also happen quickly. The mining sector has projects ready to proceed, waiting for a cyclical reversal of the price decline.

While the Australian economy has been badly affected by the mining downturn, it still managed a boom in house prices, helped by strong immigration and offshore speculators.

Net inflows of migrants have helped New Zealand grow, albeit at some notable costs, such as traffic congestion which has made travel in Auckland entirely unpredictable, and extreme pressure on the housing market, including extreme price support from speculators.

There is now an expectation, no matter who wins government in this election, that more houses will be built to meet population growth, especially in Auckland, and that much of the building sector workforce may have to be imported. That ignores other population & work flows, especially to Australia.

The Kiwi flow

The global financial crisis started to get underway in late 2007, and was severe for New Zealand through to 2011. Australia, unusually, stayed in a recession for another 5 years.

New Zealanders didn’t worry too much about all that for several years, as Kiwi emigrant numbers stayed above 40,000/year through to 2013, getting above 62,000 for the August 2013 year. For the last 4 years, however, the outward flow has fallen below 40,000/year.

Most of that flow has been to Australia, above 50,000 in some 12-month periods 4 to 5 years ago, dwindling to a trickle in some recent months. In August years, the net outflow of NZ citizens to Australia from 2007-14 totalled 215,000, but in the last 3 years totalled only 14,000.

Looking at trends

Statistics NZ’s migration figures for August show a net inflow for the month of 5120, down from 5450 last year, and a net inflow for the year of 72,072, up from 69,119 for the previous 12 months but down by 330 from the 72,402 in the 12 months to July.

Long-term migrant arrivals tend to drop off slightly from July to August and they’ve done that again this year, though the inflow this July made it over the 10,000 mark (to 10,014) after nudging it in the previous 2 Augusts (9950 last year, 9942 2 years ago).

Exits had been in the range of 4500-4600 over the last 3 Augusts, but jumped to 4894 this time.

In annual terms, from a low point in the August 2010 year of 82,106 arrivals, the number climbed in large jumps over the last 5 years – over 90,000 in 2013, then to almost 104,000, to almost 118,000, to 125,000 and this year to 132,153.

Exits exceeded 87,000 in 2012, then dropped in the next 4 years to 77,500, 60,400, 57,600 & 55,900, but have jumped in the last 12 months to 60,081.

The net results have been a big turnaround from an outflow of 4118 in the August 2012 year to inflows of 12,800, 43,500, 60,300, 69,100, and this year to 72,072 – a net gain of 257,812 in 5 years.

About 25,000 migrants have arrived from Australia in each of the last 3 years, 1900/August month in the first 2 of those years, dropping to 1703 this August. Exits have closely matched those numbers, so in the last 3 August years there was a net outflow of 529 Australia followed by net inflows of 1759 & 226.

The annual net inflow from Asia fell from 36,124 last year to 32,750 this year, including 9859 (10,029 last year) from China, 7278 (10,631) from India (down because of student visa changes), 4649 (4907) from the Philippines.

The net inflow from Europe rose from 14,021 to 16,956 – 3100-3400 each year from both France & Germany, the UK up from 4588 to 6725.

Net US numbers for the year rose from 1199 to 1983, and South Africa from 3415 to 4931.

Into Auckland

The number of immigrants citing Auckland as their destination has continued to grow – 4683 in August (4430), 59,700 for the August year (53,365). Over the 3 years, exits from Auckland have been in the range of 21-23,000.

The net inflow to Auckland rose marginally this August to 2754 (2711), but has climbed annually to 36,796 (32,187 last year, 27,862 the year before).

The bald statistics:

Net migrant inflow August: 5120 (5450 in August last year)
Net migrant inflow August year: 72,072 (69,119; 72,402 in the 12 months to this July)
Migrants into Auckland in August: 4683 (4430)
Migrants into Auckland in August year: 59,700 (53,365)
Net Auckland inflow in August: 2754 (2711)
Net Auckland inflow in August year: 36,796 (32,187)
Net outflow to Australia in August: 330 (22 inflow)
Net outflow to Australia in August year: 1464 (2588).

The West Australian, 16 September 2017: Boom in jobs as resources takes off
Sydney Morning Herald, 16 September 2017: Lack of tradies causes two-year home building delay

Attribution: Statistics NZ tables.

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Migration – quick numbers

Below are the basic migration numbers for the month of August & 12 months to August. I’ll fill in some gaps this afternoon with a longer story, including a few inputs likely to change the trend.

The bald statistics:

Net migrant inflow August: 5120 (5450 in August last year)
Net migrant inflow August year: 72,072 (69,119; 72,402 in the 12 months to this July)
Migrants into Auckland in August: 4683 (4430)
Migrants into Auckland in August year: 59,700 (53,365)
Net Auckland inflow in August: 2754 (2711)
Net Auckland inflow in August year: 36,796 (32,187).
Net outflow to Australia in August: 330 (22 inflow)
Net outflow to Australia in August year: 1464 (2588).

Attribution: Statistics NZ tables & release.


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A year on, Fletcher board still has ‘construction nous vacancy’ pencilled in

A year after Fletcher Building Ltd’s board became aware of construction contract blowouts, the company is no nearer to appointing someone with construction nous as a director.

Sir Ralph Norris presenting the annual result in August.

Company chair Sir Ralph Norris confessed to not understanding the world of construction accounting when he addressed media on the annual result in August. He said then that the problems at the building + interiors business unit within the construction division had all come about in the 2017 financial year, first noticed in September but the extent not realised immediately.

When the half-year result was released in February, chief executive Mark Adamson said construction operating earnings were reduced due to the timing of earnings from certain projects being recognised, expensed bid costs, a reduced contribution from Fletcher EQR, and losses incurred on a major construction project.

In March, Mr Adamson had the task of explaining the blowouts. When the greater extent of the blowouts was recognised in July, Mr Adamson’s contract was ended.

At the August briefing, I asked Sir Ralph what Fletcher had done to fill the void of construction nous in its senior executive ranks, and what steps it was taking to fill that void within the board’s ranks.

Sir Ralph rattled off a long list of recent appointments to demonstrate how the company had tackled a problem aggressively, most of which the suddenly departing former chief executive, Mark Adamson, had listed when he announced a cut in earnings guidance in March, shortly before his exit.

In addition, I wanted to know how the board would acquire more construction understanding than it apparently had. Sir Ralph skirted that question, saying only that “we will have board members stepping down. We are in the process of looking at candidates – somebody with construction experience would be a very good addition to the board.”

Changes, but still a vacuum

Yesterday, Fletcher Building announced board changes – but the construction nous vacuum remained.

John Judge had already indicated he’d retire after 9 years on the board, and Kate Spargo has joined him. Mr Judge’s retirement takes effect at the end of the annual meeting on 25 October, Ms Spargo’s took effect yesterday because she was appointed yesterday as a director of ASX-listed Cimic Group Ltd, a competitor. She had chaired engineering services company UGL Ltd until Cimic acquired it early this year.

Cimic is 73% owned by Hochtief AG of Germany, which in turn is now 71.8% owned by ACS Group SA of Spain. Those stakes make the Spanish group 52.2% owner of Cimic. The former Leighton Construction, which changed its name to CPB Contractors Pty Ltd last year, won the $240 million contract to complete the design & construction of the Christchurch Convention & Exhibition Centre last month.

Bruce Hassall, appointed to the Fletcher board in March and therefore up for election at the annual meeting, will take over from Mr Judge as chair of Fletcher’s audit & risk committee.

Cecilia Tarrant, a director since 2011, is up for re-election under the rotation process. She will take over as chair of the safety, health and environment & sustainability committee from Ms Spargo.

And then came the announcement about the hunt for construction expertise: “With the retirement of John Judge & Kate Spargo, the Fletcher Building board will have 6 directors. The board is currently engaged in a process to extend its skills & experience, particularly in the area of construction & contracting.”

Online voting

2 changes that will happen at the company’s annual meeting are in attendance & voting.

Fletcher Building has told shareholders in its notice of meeting: “To encourage the widest possible participation in the shareholders’ meeting, this year Fletcher Building is introducing a hybrid meeting format where shareholders can participate by attending either in person or remotely online via Lumi AGM.

“By using Lumi AGM, shareholders will be able to watch the meeting, vote & ask questions remotely from a smartphone, tablet or desktop device.”

Earlier stories:
17 August 2017: ‘Fessed up, time to move on, says an unconvincing Fletcher boss
21 July 2017: Fletcher Building takes axe again to construction earnings, Adamson ousted
20 March 2017: Fletcher Building cuts earnings guidance by $110 million
19 March 2017: Fletcher Building to explain construction loss Monday morning
22 February 2017: Fletcher Building net up 2% after site closures

Attribution: Fletcher release & notice of meeting, Cimic release.

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Old athletes & Lions drive NZ to slimmer deficit

Statistics NZ said yesterday a record high $1.3 billion services surplus and a smaller primary income deficit narrowed New Zealand’s current account deficit to $1.6 billion in the June quarter.

More economic statistics are due out this morning: the GDP figures and the monthly migration figures.

Statistics NZ said New Zealand exported a record $5.8 billion of services in the June quarter, seasonally adjusted, while importing a record $4.5 billion of services.

The increase in services exports was driven by $3.7 billion of spending by overseas travellers in New Zealand (exports of travel services): “This is the largest ever seasonally adjusted export of travel services. Part of this increase was due to the World Masters Games in April, and the British & Irish Lions Rugby tour to New Zealand in the June & September quarters.”

Overall, the seasonally adjusted goods & services balance in the June quarter was an $834 million surplus.

Stronger goods exports reduced the seasonally adjusted goods deficit for the quarter to $446 million, down from $1.1 million in the March quarter.

Statistic comparisons

  • For the year ended June 2017, New Zealand’s current account deficit was $7.5 billion (2.8% of gdp; it was 2.7% of gdp for the June 2016 year)
  • The seasonally adjusted current account balance was a $1.598 billion deficit in the June quarter ($1.187 billion smaller than the March 2017 quarter’s deficit)
  • The goods deficit decreased $677 million to reach $446 million
  • The services surplus increased $295 million to reach $1.280 billion, the highest on record
  • New Zealand’s primary income deficit decreased to $1.910 million in the June quarter, $403 million smaller than in the March 2017 quarter
  • New Zealand’s secondary income deficit increased to $522 million in the June quarter, $188 million larger than the March 2017 quarter deficit
  • The capital account balance was a deficit of $14 million for the June quarter, down from the surplus of $3 million in the March quarter
  • The financial account net inflow was $110 million for the June quarter, an increase from the revised financial account net outflow of $787 million for the March quarter
  • New Zealand’s net international liability position was $154.2 billion (57.5% of gdp) at 30 June, up from a revised $153.0 billion at 31 March but down slightly as a percentage of gdp (57.8%)
  • New Zealand’s net external debt position was $145.5 billion (54.3% of gdp) at 30 June, up from a revised net external debt position of $144.4 billion (54.6% of gdp) at 31 March
  • The outstanding reinsurance balance for the Canterbury earthquakes is $1.3 billion while the outstanding balance for the Kaikoura earthquakes is $991 million. Revisions to recognised reinsurance claims for the Canterbury & Kaikoura earthquakes are reported in the quarter when the earthquakes occurred.

Attribution: Statistics NZ release.

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Fed holds rate after hurricanes, envisages treasuries selldown start next month

Hurricane damage beat job gains in the US Federal Reserve’s short-term economic assessment out today, and the central bank’s open market committee opted to keep its federal funds rate target range at 1-1.25%.

The bank gave 2 lines at the end of its summary to its treasuries selldown, which it said would start in October. The bulk of the statement issued today, though, is the usual blather.

I’ve also linked below to the Fed’s economic projections, out today, but haven’t written about them.

Here’s how the bank expressed its assessment, leading to a 9-0 vote:

“Information received since the committee met in July indicates that the labour market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising moderately so far this year. Job gains have remained solid in recent months and the unemployment rate has stayed low. Household spending has been expanding at a moderate rate, and growth in business fixed investment has picked up in recent quarters.

“On a 12-month basis, overall inflation and the measure excluding food & energy prices have declined this year and are running below 2%. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

“Consistent with its statutory mandate, the committee seeks to foster maximum employment & price stability. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma & Maria have devastated many communities, inflicting severe hardship.

Storms only a short-term delay

“Storm-related disruptions & rebuilding will affect economic activity in the near term, but past experience suggests that the storms are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term. Consequently, the committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and labour market conditions will strengthen somewhat further.

“Higher prices for gasoline & some other items in the aftermath of the hurricanes will likely boost inflation temporarily; apart from that effect, inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2% in the near term but to stabilise around the committee’s 2% objective over the medium term. Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced, but the committee is monitoring inflation developments closely.

“In view of realised & expected labour market conditions & inflation, the committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1-1.25%. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labour market conditions and a sustained return to 2% inflation.

“In determining the timing & size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the committee will assess realised & expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment & 2% inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labour market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures & inflation expectations, and readings on financial & international developments.

“The committee will carefully monitor actual & expected inflation developments relative to its symmetric inflation goal. The committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.

Treasuries selldown programme

“In October, the committee will initiate the balance sheet normalisation programme described in the June 2017 addendum to the committee’s policy normalisation principles & plans.”

In the June statement, the committee anticipated an initial cap of $US6 billion/month in treasury repayments, rising in $US6 billion steps at 3-month intervals over 12 months until it reaches $US30 billion/month.

For payments of principal that the Fed receives from its holdings of agency debt & mortgage-backed securities, the committee anticipated in June that the cap would be $US4 billion/month initially and would increase in $US4 billion steps at 3-month intervals over 12 months until it reached $US20 billion/month.

Today: Federal Reserve Board & Federal open market committee release economic projections from the September 19-20 FOMC meeting
14 June 2017: FOMC issues addendum to the policy normalisation principles & plans

Attribution: Fed release.

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Kiwi Property adds 2 banks to its funding pool

Kiwi Property Group Ltd has further diversified its sources of debt, adding HSBC Holdings plc & China Construction Bank Corp to its pool of banking lenders.

Kiwi chief financial officer Stuart Tabuteau said today the company had increased its total finance debt facilities by $75 million to $1.3 billion. It’s added a $100 million facility from HSBC on 3-, 4- & 5-year terms and a $100 million 6-year facility from China Construction Bank, and paid down $125 million of shorter-dated debt.

Mr Tabuteau said one result was to increase Kiwi’s weighted average term to maturity of its finance debt facilities by half a year to 3.5 years.

Attribution: Company release.

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Out of a selldown & rescue, Taurus has built a syndication business ready to grow

In the depths of the global financial crisis, in 2011, Auckland property syndicators Murray Alcock & Allister Knight had one particular syndicate that was going only one way: downhill. Others were shaky, at best.

6 years later, after Christchurch-based Taurus Group Ltd took control of the Aucklanders’ 9 syndicates, investors in that one are looking at daylight, the selldown of the SPI Group syndicates is otherwise almost complete, and Taurus is confident about its own future as a smallscale syndicator.

Taurus Group has 2 arms – its chartered accountancy business headed by Wayne Bailey; and a range of businesses which include capital-raising, property-structuring & syndication, headed by David Kitson (pictured above).

Property syndicate specialist Taurus Management Ltd, part of the capital & finance arm, said on Wednesday it had been granted a licence under the Financial Markets Conduct Act as a manager of managed investment schemes (excluding managed funds) to primarily invest in, or own, real property. It said it aimed to provide good opportunities for investors, mostly in the South Island.

Mr Kitson said the new licence gave the company wider scope to offer managed investment schemes to the public, in addition to the wholesale market. It is now one of 2 managed investment scheme licence holders in the South Island.

Taurus, the early syndication days

But back to the early syndication days of Taurus. In 2011, Taurus began advising SPI Capital Ltd on restructuring its $125 million portfolio of 15 properties in the office, retail & industrial sectors throughout New Zealand and, in 2012, SPI appointed Taurus to wind up the affairs of some of its syndicates.

Taurus has outlined, in an article on its website, its work in trying to deal with the 78 investors in a syndicate that owned a large industrial site in Papakura which had 5 industrial buildings in various states of tenancy & repair, the main tenant in liquidation, and a bank that wanted out.

Taurus persuaded the bank to continue its support rather than force a sale at a large loss, gathered a group of 5 of the syndicate investors willing to support a longer recovery with some extra capital, initially sold some roadfront property and is now moving to sell more of the land, and has negotiated longer-term leases.

Lesson learned: stay smallscale

Mr Kitson has distinguished between Taurus’s investment targets and those of the bigger Auckland syndicators such as Augusta Funds Management Ltd (owned by NZX-listed Augusta Capital Ltd) & Oyster Property Group Ltd (50% owned by ASX-listed Cromwell Corp Ltd, 50% by a group of 5 individuals).

Augusta, in particular, has gone for ever bigger investments and has won strong investor support.

But Mr Kitson said he learned from the SPI restructure & selldown not to get too ambitious and to hold syndicates below the $20 million level, thus requiring fewer investors.

Taurus now manages 4 syndicates with $45 million of property for a total 210 investors.

Mr Kitson said Taurus had seen money flow north to the big syndicators’ offerings, but he believed there was also a strong future in smaller syndicates, and in the South Island: “We see this as complementary to the larger syndicate managers, as the maximum individual property size we will manage is unlikely to be greater than $20 million. There are plenty of attractive opportunities in the south, with very good returns & security. And when it comes to syndicate investment, size does not necessarily matter – tenant profile, returns & security do, so it’s all about the opportunity.

“The syndicates we offer will always have fewer investors, meaning we can continue to provide personal service where investors are bigger fish in a smaller pool. We know it builds confidence to have personal & direct access to the syndicate manager.”

New licence gets Taurus Management focused

Gaining the managed investment scheme licence – a 15-month process – has meant Taurus has had to realign its business to ensure Taurus Management can grow entirely separately from its sister company, Taurus Group. Said Mr Kitson: “The new licence provides the opportunity for the company to start planning a wide-ranging portfolio in the mid-range boutique investment sector over the next 5 years.”

Through the wholesale market, the company recently settled on 9 childcare centres, mostly in the South Island, and is undertaking due diligence on a 10th centre. That scheme will soon own properties worth $25 million.

Taurus Management has also settled the purchase of a 4000m² factory & warehouse in Dunedin, where a sale & leaseback arrangement gave investors the opportunity to be part of a small boutique syndicate with a single very successful tenant. “With monthly cash distributions of 8.5%, the syndicate compares very favourably with larger opportunities in the north,” Mr Kitson said.

Taurus is also conducting due diligence on 2 Christchurch properties, with more opportunities in its sights: “There’s plenty coming up and, while the South Island is our focus, we are also considering forays into regional centres in the North Island, as long as the opportunity is right.”

Taurus Management’s chief financial officer, Michael Kohing, has been with the group since 2000. The company added a distribution manager, Andrew Dorgan, early this year after Mr Dorgan returned to Christchurch from client management & sales roles at 3 banks in London over 7 years, and 5 years in Melbourne as Westpac Banking Corp’s public sector banking team relationship director.

In June, commercial property & investment specialist Charlie Goodwin joined Taurus as a non-executive director. His career has included 6 years as head of investments & marketing for Perpetual Trust, 5 years as a director of Mainland Capital Ltd and, in the last 2 years, work as a consultant providing business case studies and appointment in August as general manager of Ashburton family investment company Tricroft Properties Ltd.

Links: Taurus Group
Taurus, Hunua syndication article: Commercial property – delivering equity growth & dividends, post-GFC

Earlier stories:
15 April 2016: Taurus Group restructures
11 November 2014: SPI directors Alcock & Knight give undertakings to FMA, including repayment
19 October 2012: SPI investors vote to stick with Highland Park cinema property
31 August 2012: Investor majority decides to terminate SPI’s Gloucester syndicate
22 August 2012: SPI Capital manager strikes short-term deal on one syndicate, calls vote on a second
20 April 2012: Syndicator concedes no return to investors in 2 accommodation syndicates 4 years after tenant Edpac’s collapse

Attribution: Company release, website, Companies Register.

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Summerset buys at Porirua for 5th Wellington village

Retirement village developer Summerset Group Holdings Ltd said today it had bought a 6ha site, price undisclosed, in the Kenepuru Landing development at Porirua for its 5th village in the Wellington region.

Kenepuru Landing is a joint residential housing project between developer Carrus Corp Ltd & local iwi Ngati Toa.

Summerset chief executive Julian Cook said the proposed village on Bluff Rd would have over 290 homes, including 2- & 3-bedroom villas & apartments, one-bedroom serviced apartments and resthome & hospital care. The village would also include Summerset’s memory care centre concept, offering 20 one-bedroom apartments in a safe environment for people with dementia.

The company expects to build 450 retirement units nationally this year.

Attribution: Company release.

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