Ryman Healthcare co-founder John Ryder says it took four years to create a level building platform for a new Nelson retirement village which is part of a $750 million expansion at the business he now heads.
Ryder, executive chairman of Christchurch-headquartered Qestral Corporation, said the business is developing a $190m Coastal View Lifestyle Village in Nelson's Port Hills as part of its $750m growth.
Ryder said the project had been challenging after work started in 2015.
It took Qestral "four years to flatten the terrain so as to establish a level platform for construction. 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."
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"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 business also announced today the launch of a new electronic healthcare monitoring system, Spritely, trialled at its Alpine View in Christchurch since last year.
Christopher Dawson, Spritely chief executive, said the electronic system features monitors installed in people's homes to check their health via wireless and bluetooth-connected devices.
An alert activator and sensors are designed to detect movement - or lack of it - and potentially alert the system to a person's fall or accident, Dawson said.
Qestral plans to install Spritely throughout its national village network. Simon O'Dowd, Qestral chief executive, said he hoped the new system would delay residents' entry into institutional care.
"They can use the electronic health-monitoring system themselves. It assists them in maintaining independence for longer," O'Dowd said.
Qestral also intends making Spritely generally available to the retirement village industry and to the community.
"We have plans for a virtual retirement village, with people in the community using electronic devices to monitor their health in a pre-emptive way," Dawson said.
Other retirement businesses also use different electronic monitoring systems. For example, Ryman uses myRyman, a custom-built programme accessible on a tablet device in care residents' rooms.
"It has revolutionised the way we manage care by providing nurses and care assistants all the personalised care information they need, at the bedside," Ryman says of that system.
Correction: The headline on the print version of this story incorrectly referred to the developer as Ryman, when it should have said Qestral. The error is regretted.