Details about a stylish gated community on long-time vacant prime land near Rotorua's central city have been revealed, including its name.

The land on the corner on Malfroy Rd and Ranolf St will become Ashworth Villas with about 50 upmarket two and three-bedroom homes, with internal garages. They will be set in a residents' association designed for those aged 50 and older who are looking to downsize from large family homes.

The complex will include a shared leisure facility with a lap pool and a plunge pool, both geothermally heated.

About 50 up-market homes will be built as part of Ashworth Villas. Artist's impression/supplied 050718immpression2
About 50 up-market homes will be built as part of Ashworth Villas. Artist's impression/supplied 050718immpression2

Plans for the development will be completed next month with the official launch date set for September 4, where the architect will speak at a red carpet event at the site to interested parties about the philosophy behind the complex.

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Bayleys agent Beth Millard, who is marketing the property on behalf of developers the Holmes Group, said Ashworth was a Holmes family name and it was fitting for the complex.

"Ashworth Villas was borne out of the fact there is a huge gap in the market and there is a need for something like this."

She said she was already fielding expressions of interest since the land sold and the Holmes Group revealed its plans in April. One of the potential buyers were a Rotorua couple who had moved to Tauranga looking for something similar to Ashworth Villas but hadn't been able to find it.

The Holmes Group is Rotorua-based and is behind other developments in the city including Parklands Estate, Eastgate Business Park, Lynmore Lake Vista Estate and Lynmore Junction where Motion Entertainment is.

The soon-to-be-built gated community on the corner of Malfroy Rd and Ranolf St will be called Ashworth Villas. Artist's impression/supplied 050718imppresion1
The soon-to-be-built gated community on the corner of Malfroy Rd and Ranolf St will be called Ashworth Villas. Artist's impression/supplied 050718imppresion1

The development was going through the consent process now and house and land packages on sections ranging between 145sq m and 167sq m will officially go on the market in September with building starting in March.

The 20,000sq m site went up for sale in February. The former owners, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had plans to build a church there but it never eventuated.

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It was also previously the site of a transit camp for families awaiting state housing before the Voyager Resort Hotel was put there in 1983 until it was demolished in 1988.

It has had a few owners since, including a Japanese businessman who intended to build a hotel before his plans were crushed by a market crash. The site has been empty since 1988.

 Annette Joyce, centre, with sisters MaryAnne Purdie, left, and Win Hampson on the land previously owned by their grandfather, Martin Heywood Hampson. Photo/Ben Fraser
Annette Joyce, centre, with sisters MaryAnne Purdie, left, and Win Hampson on the land previously owned by their grandfather, Martin Heywood Hampson. Photo/Ben Fraser

Retired Rotorua Girls' High School principal Annette Joyce said she was particularly thrilled to see something happening on the site as the land had previously been owned by her grandfather, Martin Heywood Hampson.

He was effectively the first lawyer in Rotorua when he moved to the city in 1908 at the age of 22. He set up the firm known as Hampsons, that then became Hampsons Davys and then Davys Burton.

He married in 1911 and bought the block of land that will soon be Ashworth Villas. Joyce said in those days the land was known as Rokena and was a country estate with one house on it.

Joyce's grandparents went on to have eight children, including Joyce's father who was the eldest.

As a long-time Rotorua resident, she had long seen the land remain vacant and was thrilled it was remaining in local hands with an exciting plan.

"I think it's absolutely lovely. It would be really nice to see some of the Hampson family names on things ... The amazing thing is that despite all the changes over the years, what they [the Holmes Group] have bought back is the same footprint that my grandfather bought."