Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

NZ plans for UK elderly village

Neville Cook (left) and father Cliff outside Remuera Rise which they developed. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Neville Cook (left) and father Cliff outside Remuera Rise which they developed. Photo / Sarah Ivey

A New Zealand-controlled retirement village business is expanding its British investments, building a new 115 million London project.

Cliff Cook, a retirement village pioneer and chairman and majority shareholder of private village developer/operator LifeCare Residences, said work had begun on a new 109-apartment village with a 30-bed nursing home opposite Battersea Park.

Cook owns 58 per cent, American billionaire entrepreneur Sam Zell has 33 per cent, ASX-listed Abacus Property Group has 6 per cent and the rest is owned by the management.

Cook said he had received many approaches to sell the London block since buying it.

"We've owned the land for eight years and it's within a five-mile radius of an area with a population the same size as New Zealand in the most expensive residential area of London," Cook said, citing Chelsea and Wandsworth, across the Thames from Mayfair and Kensington.

Cook, chairman of alternative milk business A2 Corporation, owns the top floor of an apartment block next to Remuera Rise and appeared on this year's NBR Rich List with $235 million.

Cook said 70 per cent of the London apartments were already reserved. Residents will have a leisure complex with indoor heated pool and spa, restaurant and bar, library, cinema room and a beauty treatment salon.

Son Neville Cook, 30, development manager of Auckland's new $44 million Remuera Rise built by Dominion Constructors at 30 James Cook Cres, is managing the London job.

Vinci Construction, the world's largest builder by revenue, which has its headquarters in France, would build the Battersea Place village, Neville Cook said. Already, 53.5 million ($103.6 million) had been spent there.

"That's the cost of the land and money we've spent. Because of the planning regulations, you can't just bowl the building. You need to break it down."

Apartments in London, modelled on the new Remuera project which has just opened, would sell from 400,000 up to 2 million, the Cooks said.

Apartments in Remuera Rise are selling from $460,000 to $1 million.

LifeCare has resource consent for a new village at Queenstown's Remarkables Park near the airport but work is yet to start.

LifeCare owns the existing 36-unit Waiheke Retirement Village but has consent for four new villas, seven apartments and a 21-bed care facility at the Anzac Bay site.

- NZ Herald

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