Re­tire­ment vil­lage has town in mind

Rodney Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A $30 mil­lion re­tire­ment vil­lage pro­posed for Wark­worth will ful­fil a com­mu­nity need, de­vel­oper Chris Mur­phy says.

The Oaks Vil­lage pro­posal com­prises two six­s­torey com­plexes and one of four storeys, 86 apart­ments, a 30-room care fa­cil­ity and 10 re­tail shops.

The pro­posal could be sub­mit­ted to the Auck­land Coun­cil for re­source con­sent within a fort­night. Ini­tial feed­back to the plan has been pos­i­tive, Mr Mur­phy says.

‘‘We ex­pect the vil­lage to bring about 130 ac­tive re­tirees to the cen­tre of Wark­worth. The con­ve­nience of not need­ing to drive will be a sig­nif­i­cant at­trac­tion.’’

One ben­e­fit to the town would be the care fa­cil­ity. Res­i­dents will have pri­or­ity, but it will be avail­able to non­res­i­dents too. This is ex­pected to help ful­fil a need for more hos­pi­talqual­ity care in Wark­worth.

An­other ben­e­fit to the town could come with the up­grade of the old ho­tel build­ing, po­ten­tially cre­at­ing Wark­worth’s largest func­tion cen­tre with a 120-per­son ca­pac­ity.

‘‘We plan to up­grade the ho­tel to make it some­thing Wark­worth can be proud of. This build­ing should be a fea­ture,’’ Mr Mur­phy says.

The plan has been de­vel­oped in ne­go­ti­a­tions with the coun­cil to min­imise the ef­fect on the town’s char­ac­ter and max­imise the ben­e­fit to Wark­worth.

‘‘ There’s a trade-off be­tween height, re­tail and trees.

‘‘ We can sac­ri­fice height if we en­croach fur­ther upon the trees or do away with re­tail, but the com­mu­nity and coun­cil want both.’’

The idea to in­clude re­tail space also came from the coun­cil but it has now been em­braced by the de­vel­op­ers.

‘‘We’re not com­mer­cial land­lords but the coun­cil wanted it,’’ Mr Mur­phy says. ‘‘ They thought it was good for Wark­worth, and we now think re­tail is good for us as well as the com­mu­nity.’’

The pro­posal will re­quire the re­moval of some trees and Mr Mur­phy also ac­knowl­edges build­ing height could be an is­sue. But if there were fewer apart­ments, the busi­ness model would not work, he says.

The model is aimed at the long term – it’s not about turn­ing a quick profit, he says.

‘‘ This is not a sell­down walk away and make a profit ven­ture,’’ he says.

‘‘De­vel­op­ers gen­er­ally look at a 25 per­cent mar­gin and if they don’t have it they don’t do it. But that’s not our game.’’

Big plans: The pro­posed Oaks Vil­lage in the heart of Wark­worth.

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