Australian Unity & Australand Lodge DA for Bowral Retirement Village

The concept plan includes three core components: 190 independent living units; a 153 bed residential aged care facility; and a Wellbeing Centre that will provide a range of additional healthcare services to the broader community as well as its residents. The development is expected to create approximately 115 ongoing jobs in the local community.

The joint venture partners have extensive experience in the development and operation of retirement living communities. Locally, Australian Unity operates the Mt Eymard Village on Moss Vale Road at Bowral. Mt Eymard Village is one of 15 retirement villages and four residential aged care facilities operated by Australian Unity across New South Wales and Victoria since the multi-award winning community of Constitution Hill, near Parramatta, was first developed in 1948.

Australand is one of Australia’s leading diversified property development companies with over 90 developments across five major cities in Australia. The company has a proud history in developing master planned communities and more than 80 years experience in residential development in Australia.

The joint venture partners have appointed renowned Australian architectural practice Cox Richardson, founded by Phillip Cox, to master plan and design the new community. In Bowral, Cox Richardson was responsible for the restoration of Milton Park as well as the design of its surrounding villas. Cox Richardson has undertaken numerous award winning projects throughout Australia and internationally.

General Manager Client Services- Retirement Living Services for Australian Unity, Janene Eagleton, said the concept plan the joint venture partners have lodged with Council has evolved following three community consultation meetings where plans were discussed and feedback encouraged.

“Our vision is to create a residential community that integrates with and complements the local community.

“We propose to deliver high quality retirement living that is considerate of the environment and supported by physical and service infrastructure that adds to the quality of life of the broader community as well as residents.

“Maintaining the fabric of the community is important to us. Just as Eymard House is the centrepiece of the Mt Eymard village, at our new community we will retain the majestic tree lined driveway as the main access way to and from the community,” said Ms Eagleton.

Mr Richard McLachlan of Australand said a great deal of research had already been undertaken on the site to understand how the new community might best be master planned and configured to provide the optimal mix of residential areas, communal facilities and landscaped areas.

“Rather than develop the site to the maximum possible capacity of 300 two and three bedroom homes we are proposing to develop 190 independent living homes which will generally be single storey,” said Mr McLachlan.

“By doing so, we can create a high quality sustainable residential community with buildings on approximately 65 per cent of the 17 hectare site. This will create extensive landscaping around the community on Centennial, Kirkham and Mount Roads providing a private and peaceful environment,” said Mr McLachlan.

“We are hoping to enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement with Council to enhance local infrastructure using the infrastructure contribution funds we will make as part of the development (Section 94 contributions). While our traffic studies indicate there will be no discernable additional operational impact on existing infrastructure we would like to upgrade local bridges and paths to the centre of Bowral to benefit the residents of our proposed village and the general community.

“The retirement village will feature a Wellbeing Centre that will have ongoing benefits for both residents and the wider community, who will have access to leisure lifestyle activities, a swimming and lap pool, physiotherapy and dental care rooms, respite care, rehabilitation, self development and physical strength workouts through the Centre. This facility will also help to address the health care concerns of an ageing local population,” said Mr McLachlan.

The joint venture is the first between Australian Unity and Australand, and Mr McLachlan said the two companies will continue to look at development opportunities to capitalise on Australian Unity’s management experience and Australand’s development and construction capabilities.

The NSW State Department of Planning issued a Site Compatibility Certificate for the proposal in December 2007. At the DA concept stage Council will review the joint venture partners’ submission with regard to planning and environmental issues, and to ensure that it complies with State government policy that the required community services are readily accessible.

Further to the Concept Plan development application a detailed development application is expected to be lodged mid year. Construction is expected to begin in mid 2009 with the dwellings in the retirement village available for occupation in late 2010.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.

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