The agreement between Auckland Rugby League and developers Vision S' />

Carlaw Park's historic No 1 ground is to be turned into a retirement village.

The agreement between Auckland Rugby League and developers Vision Senior Living cements the end of the spiritual home of league in the city.

Under the deal, Vision will lease and develop the ground from the ARL, which retains ownership.

The ARL had already sold the No 2 ground to property company Willis Bond & Co, which is turning it into a residential and commercial precinct.

ARL chairman Cameron McGregor said the project would keep the Carlaw Park name so its heritage lives on. It was an investment for the future.

"As a football ground, certainly it was over from the day we couldn't get any political support for developing a new ground. The ARL don't have sufficient resources to develop a stadium on our own."

A $23 million deal signed in April 2003 retaining Mt Smart Stadium as the home of the Warriors ended the ARL's hope of revamping the park, and spelled the end of Carlaw Park's role in league.

Earthworks for the retirement village are expected to start in September, while construction of the 180-unit development will begin early next year. The first stage consisting of 90 independent living apartments is expected to be completed by mid-2008.

Vision owns and manages five "retirement resorts" in Henderson, Botany Downs, Hamilton, Bay of Islands and Bay of Plenty.


CARLAW PARK

* Originally the site of a flour mill, and later a Chinese market garden, grandstands and terraces were built in 1916. Auckland Rugby League made the park its home in 1921.

* Between 1924 and 1995, it was the site of 59 of 95 home tests for the Kiwis before maintenance issues and the lack of corporate and media facilities and parking sent the New Zealand Rugby League first to North Harbour Stadium in Albany and then to Mt Smart Stadium.