Photo cap: A representation of the communal areas planned in the new Summerset retirement village to be built in Springlands. Photo: Supplied
By Kat Pickford
Retirement village developer Summerset has purchased the former Jones Berry Fruits property in Springlands, with the intentions of building Marlborough’s largest retirement village.
Summerset CEO Julian Cook says the development of the six hectare property in Old Renwick Road would exceed $100 million and employ more than 300 people during the building phase.
Up to 40 further permanent jobs will be created when the village opens, Julian says.
A timeframe for development and opening date has not yet been confirmed because the land purchase is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.
Summerset would not say how much it had paid for the property, citing confidentiality reasons, but according to the Marlborough District Council it had a capital value of $1.885 million.
Once built, the retirement village will include 200 independent living homes, including two and three-bedroom villas, serviced apartments, rest home and hospital level care, and a memory care centre for people living with dementia.
With Blenheim’s 75+ population expected to increase by 26% over the next four years, Summerset had been looking for a suitable property in Blenheim for a number of years, Julian says.
“We know people will be really interested in the high quality homes and recreational amenities we offer in our retirement villages.
“A lot of the new Blenheim village will be “independent living”, meaning residents have their own house, but extra support is on hand if they want or need it,” he says.
Marlborough Grey Power president Brian McNamara says the new retirement village will help ease pressure on the region’s housing stock.
“Any help in solving our housing shortage is clearly welcome, I’m told there is still a shortage of flats to rent and buy in Marlborough,” says Brian.
“Marlborough is one of the top retirement destinations in New Zealand, and as our proportion of over-65s continues to increase, we will need suitable housing and amenities for them, as well as a workforce to service them, who will also need homes to live in.”
The new village will also include a number of secure, high quality one bedroom apartments for dementia patients.
Alzheimers Marlborough manager Anne Tolley welcomed the news of the specialist dementia care unit.
“Given an expected rise in the number of people being diagnosed with dementia, the proposed increase in the number of specialist beds is a positive move for the wellbeing of people living with dementia in the long term,” Anne says.
“Any resulting increase in the number of specialist respite beds would be welcomed by care partners who want greater flexibility than current respite care options provide.”
Development plans extend beyond the village itself to help improve access for its residents, Julian says.
Aerial view showing proximity of new retirement village to Westwood Business Park.
“Summerset has been in initial discussions with the Marlborough District Council to talk about footpaths in the area.
“We are expecting to install a new pedestrian footpath from the existing footpath at the corner of Murphys Road and Old Renwick Road to the site as part of the village construction.”
With its close proximity to the Westwood Business Park, Summerset would also be talking to its neighbours about the possibility of creating a direct route to the shopping complex from the village, Julian says.
“Nothing is guaranteed, but we would like to facilitate this if possible.”
Marlborough Mayor John Leggett welcomed the news.
“I’d like to thank Summerset, councillors and Council staff who have worked cooperatively together to make this happen,” he said.
The property is zoned as Urban Residential two – greenfields, which allows for residential development.
Once the Overseas Investment Office approves the purchase of the property, Summerset will need to obtain resource and building consent from the council before development can begin.
According to Summerset’s 2018 annual report, the company was the largest builder of retirement villages in New Zealand last year, reporting a profit of $98.6 million, up 21% on 2017.
It has 25 villages completed or in development across the country, housing 5000 residents and 1400 staff.