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Ryman snags Tropicana in Auckland residential village push

Ryman snags Tropicana in Auckland residential village push

By Suze Metherell

July 21 (BusinessDesk) - Ryman Healthcare, the country's biggest listed retirement village builder and operator, has bought Tropicana, an 8.9 hectare block in Auckland's south eastern area of Lynfield and Blockhouse Bay to expand its range of units in the city.

The Christchurch-based company said the $120 million Auckland project will include an independent retirement village as a well as serviced apartments, and a rest home with hospital and dementia care, it said in a statement, without being more specific. The undeveloped residential land, which includes a mansion as well as grazing for sheep, was bought from property developer Wilfred Allen "Bill" Subritzky, and had an estimated market value of $16.2 million when it was listed last October.

Ryman has started planning and is yet to lodge a resource consent application, but aimed for the village to be opened by mid to late 2016.

In May, it entered into a 150-year lease with Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua Orakei to develop a new 300-resident development on 4.2 hectares of former navy land valued at $6.8 million on Auckland's North Shore for an undisclosed sum. This month, it acquired a 6,000 square metre site in the Wellington suburb Newtown from supermarket operator Foodstuffs for an undisclosed sum, to develop its sixth village in the area.

Ryman owns and operates 27 retirement villages housing 7,500 residents. Like other retirement village developers and operators, Ryman is looking to latch on to an ageing demographic, and has increased its annual building target to 850 beds and units a year in New Zealand by 2017, from a rate of 700 a year.

The shares fell 0.6 percent to $8.36, and have gained 7.1 percent this year. The stock is rated an average 'hold' based on six analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $8.25.


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