Dannemora combines title, licence to occupy
Smack in the middle of Manukau City’s East Tamaki growth corridor, over the new Te Irirangi Drive from the Sacramento medium-density housing project, and across the back fence and over the road from AMP’s fast-rising Botany town centre, Dannemora developer Fulton Hogan has taken on a joint development with Vision in a novel version of the retirement village.
Like everything else that rises on the Manukau greenfields, the retirement village will be the biggest. The town centre sits on 17ha, Taradale’s Sacramento sits on 10ha and the retirement village will have 10ha of Dannemora land.
Sacramento was an ambitious project when it was begun two years ago with a target of more than 300 units, built in three stages.
The Dannemora retirement village is a $150 million development which will have 500 units. It will also be the first to offer buyers a choice between the security of unit titles and licences to occupy, normally two different strands of the retirement village scene, with proponents of each version diametrically opposed to the other. (The healthy-looking gardener in the photo is not a resident-in-waiting but Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis planting an oak to launch the project).
Rob Morris, Vision’s development manager, says many American retirement villages are based on rental units, not ownership by the residents — harking back to church and council flats and homes for the elderly in one sense, moving forward in the kind of lifestyle occupants are starting to expect.
You are developing intellectual property in senior living,” he says.
The developer, a joint venture between Fulton Hogan and Vision Senior Living Ltd, will not build everything. Villa developments, for example, will be farmed out. “You’ve got to be able to delegate to a residential contractor. there are opportunities to do that at Waitakere as well [Vision has the Waitakere Gardens village near the centre of Henderson, starting with blocks of apartments].”
Mr Morris says there will be an even split between licences to occupy and unit titles. “There are a lot of advantages in licence to occupy. It’s an all-inclusive package and it will be priced competitively, whereas unit titles are a different market. They won’t come with the same level of care package, but people can buy those if they want to. And we’re even looking at the possibility of rental. It’s really providing variety.
“Rental is very popular in the US. A lot of people there take pride in the fact that they have their money in high-yielding investments and they live in a community on a rental basis. If the menu’s no good one month, they’ll move to another village. And you’ve got companies like Marriott and Hyatt involved — Marriott must have well over 100 villages on the east coast of the US.
“It’s a totally different cultural attitude, it’s all service-based. I don’t think New Zealanders are willing to pay for that level of service, so we’ve got to find something more affordable that fits the New Zealand culture.”
Designed to beat “Are you ready?” attitude
There is another huge cultural difference to overcome before the type of village Vision is heading towards gets fully accepted, and that is the idea of being “ready” to live in a retirement village. Dannemora is aimed at “providing superior retirement living to New Zealand residents aged 55 and over,” supporting “an active, stimulating retirement lifestyle.”
Says Mr Morris: “In the US you’ve made it [by getting into certain retirement villages] because you’ve got this incredible lifestyle. It was something to work towards. They also have savings packages.”
Size means Dannemora will be able to offer more facilities than most unit title developments. It will also be part of a growing chain of villages. Vision Senior Living has a target of securing 7.5% of its potential market in the next five years, and to develop and manage at least six retirement villages of about 300 units in the next three years.
Manukau’s mayor, Sir Barry Curtis, grey-haired but far too lively to even think about stopping in a retirement village, planted an oak to launch the Dannemora village last Friday. Marketing of the project, probably by a Barfoot & Thompson team, should start next month for a construction start early next year. The first stage will have 50 units and the first residents should move in about October-November next year.
Fulton Hogan, Dunedin-based roading contractor with a strong interest in residential subdivision through its Dannemora work in the Manukau-Howick corridor, will be a 50% partner in Vision Senior Living.
Vision managing director Peter Bourke, and Ron Anderson and Bob Foster of Arrow International, are the other joint venture partners.
John Robinson, formerly of Rands Robinson and recently of Colliers Jardine, is sourcing new properties for the continuing village programme.