US asset managing giant Blackstone Group LP’s local retirement village owner & operator, Arena Living NZ Ltd, has added a 6th village to its portfolio, Mt Eden Gardens. The price hasn’t been disclosed.
Blackstone bought Lendlease Group’s 5 villages in 2016 and changed the name to Arena Living Ltd. 4 of those villages are in Auckland – the Knightsbridge, Mayfair & Parklane on the North Shore and Peninsula Club at Whangaparaoa – and the other, Ocean Shores, is at Mt Maunganui. Lendlease bought them from Bev Collins’ Primecare retirement village business in 2005.
This time the acquisition is from 2 directors of construction group Arrow International Group Ltd, Ron Anderson & Bob Foster, who were instrumental in establishing Vision Senior Living Ltd in 1999, and Aaron Armstrong, an Auckland chartered accountant who was also an original Vision director.
Vision & Private Life Care Ltd were merged into Metlifecare Ltd in 2012, but the 2 Arrow founders maintained retirement village interests through other companies.
Mr Armstrong became a director of Arena Living last June and is a director of Blackstone’s new Mt Eden Gardens company.
Mt Eden Gardens has 36 apartments, and Arena Living chief executive Richard Davis said it had a reputation as an excellent retirement village.
He said Arena Living had spent the last 2 years improving its original 5 villages and ensuring it was resourced to deliver better living experiences for all its residents: “Major building projects, refurbishments & ground upgrades, along with establishing a leadership team, and streamlining processes within the company have all been key to ensuring the company is in a strong position to be able to deliver world-class retirement living in New Zealand.
“When Blackstone purchased Lend Lease’s 5 retirement villages in 2016, the intention was to create a standalone New Zealand-based business committed to delivering world-class senior living. We have transformed the management of the 5 original villages, alongside a continual programme of investment & improvements.
“Our first major milestone was the introduction of a fixed-for-life levy in July 2017. This transition to a fixed levy has given our residents a greater level of financial certainty and removed the worry of increasing costs of living. The new levy was approved by 98.9% of residents across all 5 villages, which is an overwhelming majority. And the feedback we have received to date across all aspects of village life has been very positive.
“Our goal is always to enable our residents to relax & enjoy their lives, while we take care of the rest.”
Before returning to New Zealand from the UK to head Arena Living, Mr Davis was chief executive of LifeCare Residences UK and board chair of the Associated Retirement Community Operators. He’s previously held senior roles at Metlifecare in New Zealand.
“Our industry is growing rapidly as Kiwis live longer and seek an environment where they can enjoy independent living, friendship, freedom & privacy. Arena’s point of difference is our focus on high quality, and we’ll continue to look for opportunities that help us meet the strong demand for quality lifestyle options.”
Link: Mt Eden Gardens
17 February 2016: Blackstone buys Lendlease’s NZ retirement villages
Attribution: Company release.