Fuseworks Media

Village scales back development plans – Kerikeri Retirement Village

Kerikeri Retirement Village has scaled back plans to buy neighbouring properties in order to build an extra 200 retirement accommodation units. It now aims to use land it has already acquired in nearby Hawkings Crescent for 29 townhouses that will be rented to young workers and their families, addressing the severe shortage of accommodation in Kerikeri suitable for this part of the workforce.

The Village already has resource consent for the development. It plans to sell the land to a community-focused developer or philanthropist who shares the Village’s vision of affordable rental accommodation for young service-sector employees, and who will take on the development on a build-to-rent basis. It is discussing options with various agencies and has already approached one significant investor.

“We want a community investor to develop this project as we feel it’s beyond both our budget and our core capability, and we think it’s important to stick to doing what we do best,” Ms Sumpter said.

The Village envisages that the homes will be rented on a long-term basis and at a price-point that will make them more affordable than the homes that currently comprise the bulk of Kerikeri’s rental housing stock. At this point it wants 15 of the 29 town houses to be ear-marked exclusively for rental by Village staff.

Ms Sumpter said it was important to emphasise that the proposed development was not intended for use as social housing. Sale of the land would include an agreement that it would not be used for this purpose.

“We are sensitive to the community’s concerns around the potential proliferation of social housing in this area and it’s an issue we ourselves have been highly vocal on. Our focus is clear and strong – we want this land to be used to enable people working in our local service industries to make a start on their families and careers in our wonderful community.”

She acknowledged that, other than the agreement addressing social housing, this vision might not stand the test of time with whoever ultimately purchases the land.

“But the consented plans are extremely valuable and, if we are able to sell to a community-focused developer or philanthropist, we believe it’s likely that the development will progress in line with our expectations.”

Ms Sumpter said Kerikeri was growing “like crazy” and there was a huge demand for service businesses in sectors such as health, wellbeing, property, care, travel, engineering and marketing. But these businesses were “handcuffed” because they couldn’t find the staff they needed in order to service demand.

“A big part of the reason for this is accommodation. There are very few affordable rental options for young people just starting out on their careers or for people working in Kerikeri service businesses.

“Aged care providers like us are experiencing this first-hand. We are all struggling to get the staff we need because Kerikeri is unaffordable for them and commuting options are also limited and increasingly expensive.”

Funds raised from the sale of the Village’s Hawkings Crescent land will be ploughed back into Village facilities.

The Village still intends to build more ‘independent living’ retirement accommodation but has drawn plans back from 200 additional units to just 80.

Ms Sumpter said the expansion plans announced by the Village in September 2018 were based on forecast demand. Since then, construction of a new retirement village and expansion at others meant that much of the demand had been met.

“This has enabled us to look instead at upgrading our facilities and meeting the accommodation needs of the people working in our community. Both of these are sorely needed and it’s become our current focus.”

The Village does not yet know who it will sell its Hawkings Crescent land to but has undertaken to keep the community informed.

 

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