Retirement village part of $750m expansion

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The earthworks visible from Waimea Rd will now be a common site for most Nelsonians.

It is the basis of a $190m Coastal View Lifestyle Village in the Port Hills as part of a $750m growth strategy undertaken by Christchurch-headquartered Qestral Corporation.

Ryman Healthcare cofounder and Qestral executive chairman, John Ryder, said it took four years to create a level building platform for the new retirement village.

“The site necessitated the shifting of 600,000 cubed metres of soil, equivalent to about 70,000 standard dump truck loads.

Nelson city is surrounded by hills and we had to do something radical to provide outstanding views and also be between the city and the beach.

“We’re developing on a very difficult block of land in the Tahunanui Hills in a valley,” he said of the site on Princes Dr, home to Nelson’s lookout.

The site is at the southern or Britannia Heights end of Princes Dr.

Qestral started with 8ha but bought more land part-way through, expanding the site to 12ha.

A connection will be formed to one of Nelson’s major arterial roads, Waimea Rd, via a new extension to Princes Dr.

Construction of the single-level 60-unit rest home and hospital has begun and 200 residences will be built once consent is granted.

In 2017, the project was being described as a $125m scheme: today’s $190m scheme is the result of expanding the scope of works from around 120 residences originally.

The property overlooks Tasman Bay and Tahunanui Beach, is 1.2km from Nelson Hospital and Nelson College and 3.2km from the centre of town.

As one of the founders of New Zealand’s largest listed retirement business, Ryder contributed the “Ry” in Ryman and Kevin Hickman contributed the “man”.

Ryder appeared on last year’s NBR Rich List with an estimated fortune of $100m.

Last August, Qestral announced it had bought land for a $160m retirement village at Halswell in Christchurch, adding to projects in Northland, Hamilton, Nelson and Burwood.

Ryder said last year that villages with a projected end value of $750m would be built.

Qestral plans more than 1000 villas and 450 apartment and care units.

The Nelson project has been contentious due to the need to build a new road down from Princes Dr to connect to Waimea Rd.

This will result in new traffic lights near Beatson Rd and an underpass for the Railway Reserve.

The Nelson City Council says motorists can expect that part of the project to take five months.

– With NZ Herald