An Auckland-based property developer is raving about investment possibilities in Rotorua after turning an old office into flats aimed at the city's older generations.
Tim Duffett of Plan A Investments, who has a multi-million dollar portfolio of properties in Auckland and Las Vegas, said he had spent the last eight months and about $400,000 converting an old office block on Eruera St into a "cluster of rental flats for seniors", targeting people over 55.
After just two weeks he has already found tenants for five of the six flats and is looking for more housing investment opportunities in the city.
He would not say what rent he was charging other than that it was at market rate.
"I think it's a new concept to look after the folk who don't qualify for social housing or don't have the money to go into a flash retirement village."
He said he chose the site because of its proximity to medical support, supermarkets and the city.
"I think there's a great opportunity in Rotorua to provide affordable housing to meet their needs, considering the shortage of quality rental stock in Rotorua.
"We are very positive about Rotorua at the moment and it's a city that can handle these sort of developments - I've got to start hunting for somewhere I can do a repeat performance," he said.
"Some of the distinct advantages Rotorua has is good quality trades people and is so easy to move around - you don't have to spend hours travelling by car."
A tenant of the property, who did not want to be named, said she was drawn in by the 55+ age suggestion so she would not have to deal with late night parties or domestic dramas.
"I think it's a great idea what he's done, it's like a modern English take on kaumatua street and he's done a really great job with the fittings in the building like large light switches, a panic alarm, security systems and no stairs.
"I work full time and am really active, but all of those little things are a real treat. I've met two of my neighbours already and it looks like it will be a great place to live.
"Grey Power is just up the road, it's a great location close to town and all those services, the medical centre is so close too."
Rotorua Property Investors Association president Debbie van den Broek said it was a "nice idea having a group of older people together, for support and to share similar interests".
She said investment possibilities in the city had not reached their peak and those investing now would reap the benefits in coming years.
"Rotorua has been overlooked for so long, we are a huge tourist town with millions of people coming through every year - have we done something wrong in the old days?"
She said she had noticed a lot of people coming to Rotorua in the last two years investing and upgrading local housing stock.
"I think we are going to be the next Queenstown, just wait until you see Rotorua in five years' time."
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