A Remuera property, valued by Auckland Council at $100 million, is for sale following the Caughey Preston rest home's closure just over two years ago.

Andrew Caughey, chairman of the Marianne Caughey Smith-Preston Memorial Rest Homes Trust, said the 3.1ha property at 17 Upland Rd was listed with Colliers International.

Caughey, managing director of department store Smith & Caughey's, is the great-great nephew of Irish migrant Marianne Caughey Smith-Preston, who started a drapery shop in Auckland in 1880 and whose legacy created the rest home.

Andrew Caughey with photos of his relative behind him. Photo / Michael Craig
Andrew Caughey with photos of his relative behind him. Photo / Michael Craig

When she died in 1938, she left most of her self-made estate of £325,000, or about $40 million today, to set up the Caughey Preston Trust.


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The 108-bed facility opened in 1950, its objective was to deliver care "second to none" in an environment where clients and their families were the key focus.

But Caughey said the rest home demands changed over the decades, from housing often fitter older women to more geriatric residents, which it was never originally established for. Government funding challenges, law changes and "complexities" in the aged-care model all contributed to issues, he said.

Ventnor Home at the property. Photo / Doug Sherring
Ventnor Home at the property. Photo / Doug Sherring

In 2016, the trust business lost $1.1m, up from more than $600,000 the previous year, according to the accounts filed with the Charities Services. Although the trust received fees of $13m in the year to September 30, 2016, it paid suppliers and employees $16m.

Andrew Caughey, chairman of the trust which owns the Caughey Preston Rest Home, announces the sale of the property at 17 Upland Rd in Remuera. Video / Michael Craig

Before it shut in October 2017, the home employed nearly 200 staff and housed about 128 residents.

In August 2017, when the home said it would shut, more than 100 women had to be re-housed, many going to retirement villages.

The Remuera property, now up for sale. Photo / Doug Sherring
The Remuera property, now up for sale. Photo / Doug Sherring

Accounts showed the trust owned 48 per cent of Smith & Caughey Holdings, which owns the department store. That 48 per cent was valued at $40.4m around the time the home shut.

Desley Simpson, an Auckland councillor and former Orākei Local Board chairwoman, said many people were taken aback and saddened by the closure because the home had been outstanding for generations of people in her area.

one roof

The council says the 3.1ha property has 10,087sq m of building floor area. The land is valued at $72.5m and buildings at $27.5m. Annual rates are $45,407. Zoning is residential, mixed housing.

Steve Koerber of Ray White Remuera said many private homes were on the rest home's boundary "so all the neighbours are keen to know what might go on there". Property valuations were often exceeded by sale prices, he said.

Retirement village businesses might be interested in buying, he said, "but a luxury residential developer could also take it on". Many homes could be built on the site and sell for about $4m to $6m each, Koerber said.

A string of rest homes shut down elderly care in New Zealand recently.

Mission Bay's Mary MacKillop Care shut its elderly care last year and 2018 saw the closure of high-level care at Whanganui's Nazareth Rest Home, Christchurch's Bishopspark, Feilding's Ruawai Rest Home, Invercargill's Takitimu rest home, New Plymouth's Mission Rest Home, along with Caughey Preston rest home in 2017.

The trust's Andrew Caughey today said the Remuera sale money would be used "to deliver a rest home solution that will be viable into the future. Marianne wanted to help people in deep need. The trust's strategic review is focused on identifying the area of greatest need in today's world and on developing new ways to provide residential care and ancillary services for elderly, infirm or impoverished New Zealanders. This is a vital process for the trust and will take time."

The trust went to the High Court at Auckland to interpret its trust deed.

"The court gave a clear direction that its primary purpose was the establishment and operation of a rest home. Given the changed nature and complexities of rest home care, compared to what that meant when the trust deed was written, the trust needs to evolve how it provides that support to best meet the needs of those it was set up to serve and to get it right for future generations," Caughey said.

Retirement village owners and operators and developers had shown an interest in the property, Caughey said.

• For more on the sale, see today's OneRoof Commercial section.