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$200 Million 254 Villa Retirement Village Planned For Putāruru

Putāruru born and bred property developer Tim Bartells is returning to the South Waikato town with plans to build a $200 million 254 villa retirement village starting in October this year.

Bartells says Putāruru Country Estate will include 254 mixed size villas from 95m2 to 185m2 along with a 2,000m2 five-star resort quality recreation and community facility incorporating a heated swimming pool, spa, gym, picture theatre, restaurant and café, library, doctors’ rooms, snooker and pool tables, grand piano, Menz shed, bowling green, virtual golf and more.

Longridge Country Estate, Paeroa – model for Putāruru Country Estate

“It's important to us that our residents have outstanding facilities to enjoy with other residents, friends and family,” says Bartells. “The 16-hectare site on Kennedy Drive is a very attractive rural setting bordering the Putāruru Golf Course, rugby and soccer clubs. Putāruru Country Estate will also have an aged care facility which will provide rest home hospital and dementia care.”

South Waikato District Council Mayor Jenny Shattock said the planned investment was great news for Putāruru and for the South Waikato district. It follows on from other multimillion dollar investments in the district in recent times including the South Waikato Trades Training Centre currently being built on the northern entry to Tokoroa and the Olam dairy facility to be developed just south of Tokoroa.

“There are real economic benefits from a big project like this for the community. Apart from creating a lovely place for retirees to live, there are a lot of work opportunities for everything from earthworks and civil engineering, building and construction and numerous subcontractors which in turn will attract new business into the area. There is also the continuum of work as this project will be ongoing for many years.”

Putāruru Country Estate will be Bartells’ third large retirement village complementing Longridge Country Estate, a 420-unit village in Paeroa, and Amberley Country Estate, a 250-unit village in Christchurch. He says prospective Putāruru Country Estate buyers can preview what they will be buying by visiting Longridge in Paeroa.

“In the retirement villages I am building each villa has more space for outside living areas, lawns and gardens. We are not about cramming in as many villas as we can. We are about providing beautifully built high quality functional homes that people will love to live in.

“We put a lot of technology into our villas with all of them having emergency call buttons in every room, hard-wired smoke alarms that turn off the power to the area where the smoke is detected. We have TV and computer terminals in every room so there are no Sky dishes or TV aerials as it is a centralised system that includes fully monitored security systems for our residents’ peace of mind. We also provide an embedded power network for which the village bulk buys power and we have achieved savings of 50% which we pass on directly to our residents.”

Bartells was born in Putāruru Maternity Hospital, and went to school at St Marys and then Putāruru High School where he met his partner Jenny Wilson who is a full partner in Putaruru Country Estate and Bartells’ other villages. “In those days Putāruru was booming with 1,000 kids at the high school. All my brothers and sisters were brought up in Putāruru and many people will remember my Mum, Pearl who worked for 30 years in Elizabeth Amber, a local material shop. My Dad worked for Taupō Totara Timber and PTY timber yard.”

Bartells left school at 16 and worked in the bush as a crosscutter and skidder driver and then went into dairy farming which he did for many years in the Waikato and then in Tasmania where he first became involved in property development.

“There is a lot of history in Putāruru for me so to be able to come back home and do something like this has a special significance for me. I still know a lot of people in Putāruru and many of my school mates are still around, so I am looking forward to catching up with old friends.”

Bartells has been very pleased with the support he has received from South Waikato District Council. “From my initial contact with Interim Chief Executive Miriam Taris and all members of the executive team I have been impressed with their willingness to work with me to streamline the compliance journey. I believe we have the opportunity together to create some industry leading processes to optimally manage the regulatory process for a large project.”

Bartells sees the Putāruru Country Estate as complementary to Putaruru based Rangiura Hospital, Rest Home and Retirement Village’s existing 106-unit village and their intended future developments and is in discussions with Rangiura Chair Jos Van Loon about how the two businesses can work together.

“Rather than being in competition I see the services we are both offering as being complementary and I am very keen to work with Jos and his team to provide the best care possible. My Mum was one of the very first residents built at the Rangiura Retirement Village and was later in Rangiura Rest Home. The care she received from Rangiura both in the village and in care was fantastic.”

Van Loon said Putāruru was a great spot to retire in and to develop accommodation and services for retirees so Rangiura had anticipated for some time that other developers would be attracted to the town. “We appreciate the approach from Tim Bartells and we look forward to further discussions on how can work together for the benefit of retirees and the Putāruru community.”

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