New Wave of Projects Redefine Aged Care Development


Where to live in one’s golden years is one of the most significant decisions a new retiree has to make, and the traditional notion of retirement is changing.

Developers and investors are now shifting gears in order to elevate offerings in an increasingly competitive market.

The $20-billion aged care sector is rapidly gathering pace, driven largely by a sizeable baby boomer cohort, Australia’s largest demographic group at an estimated 5.5 million people.

Sprawling housing developments are increasingly becoming less desirable and, as people live longer, there has been a push for more customisable amenities in order to reflect an occupant's choices.

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Developers are now providing a continuum of onsite healthcare options to meet changing needs and phases of ageing while also upscaling projects with the latest technologies to improve quality of life.

Driving a recent successful wave of new aged care communities has been a sharpening of focus, with the end user placed at the heart of development and design decisions to fundamentally heighten the standards of the sector.

Take a closer look at three leading, recently completed, aged care and retirement living developments redefining Australia’s aged care sector

Greenway Views Senior Living, Canberra

The standard of retirement living in Canberra has been elevated with the recent completion of a $270-million ageing-in-place living development in the Tuggeranong district.

The development, in the suburb of Greenway, is owned and operated by LDK Healthcare, a joint venture between Cromwell Property Group and senior living operator Aspire Group.

The village, delivered by FDC Construction, accommodates up to 450 residents in more than 380 apartments across five, adaptively reused, three-level buildings previously occupied by the federal government’s Department of Social Services.

Apartments range in size from 50sq m studio apartments up to 120sq m three-bedroom apartments.

The Gray Puksand-designed development has more than 700kw of solar PV across rooftops and car park areas and effectively reduces its greenhouse gasses output by half compared to other retirement villages built to current standards.

Greenway Views Senior Living
▲ The village includes a cafe, 130-seat auditorium, gym, hairdresser and barber, library, men’s shed, art gallery and grocer.

Gray Puksand partner Maria Correia said the key to the project’s success had been its attention to detail and its ability to tap into the essence of people of age, their existing eclectic, functional homes and their needs.

“The project is designed for residents who require no care, partial care and full care and where the overarching idea is to build a home that you would want to live in or have your parents live in.”

Correia will join The Urban Developer’s coming Aged Care and Retirement Living vSummit on Thursday, April 29.

“Our design aims to balance the residents’ needs and aspirations with their functional needs,” Correia said.

The village also features restaurant dining, gardens, a bar with piano and snooker table, cafe and theatre.

U-City, Adelaide

Working with private developer Built, Uniting Communities has delivered a $100-million residential, commercial, retail and social services hub in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD.

This 22-storey mixed-use development, opened mid-2019, has 41 retirement residences of one, two or three bedrooms on its upper six floors.

The project comprises 5000sq m of commercial office space, a double-height auditorium space, ground floor retail, public realm and a double-level basement carpark.

The Woods Bagot-designed project is also home to 21 specialist disability accommodation apartments, an 18-apartment bespoke short-stay ‘hotel’ facility equipped for people living with a disability.

Residents have exclusive access to an indoor-outdoor club lounge, and can also use community facilities, including gym equipment and exercise classes as well as conference and community spaces.

U City, Adelaide
▲ The development features state-of-the-art integrated assistive smart technologies for disabled users throughout.

The building is also home to other services, including short- and long-term disability accommodation, Uniting Communities’ social services hub, cafes and dental services.

Uniting Communities chief executive Simon Schrapel told The Urban Developer the development marked a bold step for the retirement living sector and was paving the way for alternative approaches.

“Moving beyond traditional approaches where accommodation is largely segregated, [the development] incorporates retirement living within a vibrant and mixed eco system,” Schrapel said.

“As a new cohort of retirees seek alternative living options, U City has demonstrated that inclusive communities can deliver safety, security and all the riches and benefits of co-location with other community functions and demographics.”

Schrapel said the project's short- and long-stay disability apartments had been designed to maximise independence for people living with high physical support needs.

The building received 6-star Green Star accreditation during its build, and is predicted to use 45 per cent less energy and 30 per cent less water than a comparable new building.

Bernborough Ascot, Brisbane

Bernborough Ascot, a $270-million aged care precinct set to be built alongside Brisbane’s Doomben Racecourse, is quickly taking shape.

When completed, the development will feature 300 independent living apartments and penthouse-style homes.

It will also feature lifestyle amenities including a bowls green, health and wellness studio with a pool, spa, gymnasium and consulting rooms, a rooftop terrace, restaurant and outdoor dining areas.

“Residents will benefit from the sustainability measures we’re delivering,” Lendlease managing director of retirement living Nathan Cockerill said.

“This is not just in terms of driving down energy and water bills but also the lifestyle and health outcomes from living in such a green community.

“Delivering environmental and social outcomes, alongside financial, have been hallmarks of Lendlease since our inception—and continue to be cornerstones of our company globally.”

Bernborough Ascot, Brisbane
▲ The integrated retirement living community is being constructed across four stages, with the first stage completed in October 2020.

Construction of Bernborough Ascot started in early-2019 with the first stage comprising 69 apartments completing late last year.

The trackside community, being delivered in partnership with the Brisbane Racing Club, has been named after one of Australia’s greatest thoroughbred racehorses, Queensland-born Bernborough, which won 15 consecutive races between 1941 to 1946.

Last month, the development was recognised as one of Australia’s most sustainable retirement communities after securing the first 6-Star Green Star Communities rating from the Green Building Council of Australia in the aged living sector.

The developer currently owns and operates 72 retirement villages around Australia with about 17,000 residents.

It also was recognised in the 2020 GRESB sustainability ranking for real estate in the Asia Pacific, achieving top spot in the Residential Non-Listed category.

Maria Correia, Simon Schrapel and Nathan Cockerill will unpack the projects featured above as part of a session highlighting exemplary projects at The Urban Developer’s upcoming Aged Care and Retirement Living vSummit.

Join us as we bring together a panel of global leaders to discuss the outlook for the sector. To register for this upcoming event, click here.

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