4 Jul 2014

Ryman to go up in Newtown

7:33 am on 4 July 2014

Ryman Healthcare is confident it will be able to provide the full continuum of care at a village it plans to build in the Wellington suburb of Newtown, despite the small size of the site.

The Newtown site - the former TipTop factory next to the Countdown supermarket and with frontages onto both Adelaide Road and Hanson Street - is just 0.6ha.

By comparison, the site Ryman bought in Pukekohe last week is 6.58ha.

Managing director Simon Challies said his company had already developed a village on an even smaller site - the Yvette Williams Retirement Village in Dunedin.

"It's a smaller boutique village for us but we've done similar villages before. We developed our village at Highgate, in Dunedin, which is actually on 4000 square metres, so in the trimmed down version we try to provide all the levels of care but it's just a smaller, more intimate, village," Mr Challies said.

"We go up. It's one of the challenges you have in a metropolitan centre.

"There's some suburbs in metropolitan New Zealand (where) we don't have the option of sprawling on a big campus, so we look for boutique-style villages where can look after the local community."

The village would offer the full contingent of care, with resthome, hospital and dementia care, he said.

And despite the site challenges, the feasibility of the project stacked up.

"It just means you've got to be careful about the scale of the care centre, because the retirement village essentially funds the development of the care centre, from a capital expenditure point of view, so we've just got to make sure we've got the balance right between retirement village units and care, so that one can support the other."

The Newtown village would not be a typical Ryman village but it was a model it wanted to try to do more often, especially in places such as Auckland where land was scarce.