"We're living it up at Ryman's expense," said the buyer of an apartment at a big Auckland construction project by New Zealand's largest listed retirement business.
The $6 billion Ryman Healthcare, whose shares are trading at $12.03, is paying compensation to buyers after wet weather delayed completion of the first block at the William Sanders Retirement Village, 7 Ngataringa Rd overlooking Ngataringa Bay near Devonport.
David King, Ryman's corporate affairs manager, confirmed last night that the business was paying "tens of thousands" of dollars to buyers. But he said that the first block was only about a fortnight late and the business was paying because it took its social responsibility seriously.
"This is part of being the most trusted brand, you do the right thing," said King, referring to the Reader's Digest most trusted brands survey out this week where Ryman appeared for the fifth consecutive year.
King said buyers of the first 17 apartments in stage one of the scheme on the 4.2ha waterfront site were offered either cash or hotel rooms, having sold their own homes on the basis of Ryman's original forecasts on the first block.
"It's a big thing to get that first apartment block, The Duder, open," King said.
"We hoped it would be the end of April but it will be mid-May. We apologise profusely. The important thing is we're covering all the costs and it's tens of thousands."
Although the schedule ran well during the long, hot dry summer, wet weather recently delayed outdoor work, particularly around driveways, he said, resulting in the late completion.
"There are 17 apartments affected by the delay so we're offering compensation and they either move into a hotel or they have an allowance," King said.
"I can't say how much they're getting. It's between us and them but it's enough to cover all their food, accommodation and storage costs. This is absolutely our fault and we know it's really stressful for people moving houses."
Ryman is building 195 independent living apartments, a 120 hospital and 78 serviced suites on the site, which is leased from Ngāti Whatua Whai Rawa.
One resident said she was taking the compensation as cash and staying with relatives on the North Shore, "living it up at Ryman's expense".
Another is overseas and living in a waterfront resort region, but a family member said she was not "living it up" but instead helping the family, including looking after grandchildren.
Another buyer said the apartment in stage one was originally forecast to be finished in February this year. More than two years ago, she had planned to sell her home based on that.
However, it became apparent in the past year that February was too early and the place would not be finished until around the middle of 2019, she was told.
She was not particularly inconvenienced by late delivery but was looking forward to moving and getting settled into William Sanders.
After protests against the original scheme two years ago, Ryman changed its plans and is now building lower blocks: Instead of six levels, it is putting up four- and five-storey blocks. It also changed the orientation of some buildings and reduced unit numbers.
King said moving house even when a person was aged in their 20s or 30s was stressful.
"These people put their trust in us. We hate to let them down," he said.
But he did indicate satisfaction with the Logan Campbell Retirement Village at Greenlane where he said progress had well outstripped the apartment scheme at Alexandra Park.
"Alexandra Park started piling before us at Greenlane and we've finished," King said of the village on Campbell Rd.