RSL Club to Build Vertical Retirement Village


Australia’s retirement and aged-care providers are continuing to develop mid-rise, apartment-style accommodation close to inner cities where residents have spent much of their lives.

The demand for such accommodation has continued to rise as baby boomers who prefer inner-city life inch closer to retirement.

While many big players are moving into the sector, not-for-profit groups may have an advantage, having controlled prized inner-city sites for decades.

The latest application, lodged by Geron Property on behalf of Gladesville RSL Community Club, is continuing the trend, with plans for a mid-rise seniors living project at 6-8 Western Crescent.

The 4000sq m proposal, dubbed Altira Gladesville, is for a 10-storey residential tower comprising 34 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments across the building’s upper levels, a ground floor community centre and four basement levels for 60 parking spaces.

It will be built within the footprint of a former heritage hall next to a Ryde City Council public car park.

Originally known as Jordan Hall, it opened in 1938 as a popular community hall entertainment venue with light music and ballroom dancing.

The building was constructed in the inter-war stripped classical style and replaced the former Protestant Hall, built in the 1860s.

▲ The site was approved in 2017 for the retention of the significant heritage facade and the construction of a new mixed-use development behind the retained facade. Image: Innovate Architects
▲ The site was approved in 2017 for the retention of the significant heritage facade and the construction of a new mixed-use development behind the retained facade. Image: Innovate Architects

Gladesville RSL and Community Club chief executive Ashley Parmenter said the development, which had been in the works for many years, would provide an additional income stream to ensure the long-term viability of the club.

“We are a community-owned club and it is important that this site continues to provide ongoing benefits to the local area,” Parmenter said.

“Gladesville RSL and Community Club has been operating for more than 80 years and we plan on being around for a lot longer.

“For us, Altira was a perfect solution as the residences are a long-term project which suited the long-term vision of the club.”

The Gladesville RSL and Community Club will own and operate the development through the club’s board.

It plans to maintain the heritage facade facing Western Crescent with a new and larger state-of-the-art youth centre for gymnastics, dance and karate classes.

As part of a wider demographic shift towards apartment living in all the major capital cities, vertical retirement villages are now being developed by major players including Aveo, Lendlease and Stockland as well as non-profit groups.

According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers partner for real estate advisory Tony Massaro, who spoke at The Urban Developer’s Aged Care and Retirement Living vSummit in April, more than half of the new villages currently under development were either vertical or a combination of vertical and broadacre, up from 9 per cent in 2019.

“We are probably not building as much as we need to … this was exacerbated a little bit by Covid,” Massaro said.

“It’s not the operators who will feel the shortfall, it is the people wanting to move into retirement living.

“Operators will go in there and fill the gap … but it’s a very long process, getting permissions from councils and the DA process.”

The Property Council of Australia estimates that between 2014 and 2025, 200,000 additional senior Australians will be seeking retirement village accommodation.

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