The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) and Generus Living Group are pleased to announce a joint venture that will give rise to New Zealand’s first six-star retirement village.

Situated at the Foundation’s historic grounds in Parnell, Auckland, the development will offer a unique location and amenity while supporting the charity’s long-term financial sustainability.

The high-end complex, called The Foundation Village, will initially include two buildings housing 116 apartments within the 2.5-hectare precinct at the corner of Parnell Road and Maunsell Road. A third stage containing aged hospital and memory assisted facilities is also planned closer to the centre of the precinct.

Today’s announcement follows the granting of resource consent for the initial two buildings on Maunsell Road, while design and consent for the aged care building is yet to be fully resolved. Construction of the first building is due to commence in the third quarter 2020.

RNZFB Chairperson Rick Hoskin says the decision to create a retirement village on the Parnell property follows careful consideration over several years as to the best use of the land.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to make the most of our most valuable asset. Our focus was on finding a way to build a sustainable revenue stream for the Foundation, without spending our reserves, and we’ve achieved this via our unique arrangement with Generus.

“Through this arrangement, we’re selling a portion of our precinct to the Joint Venture on a 100-year leasehold basis, while sharing equally in the future earnings of the complex. Earnings will be used to fund services to support New Zealanders who are blind or have low vision. Generus is also developing new purpose-built premises for us on the site, allowing us to modernise and meet the needs of our constituency,” says Mr Hoskin.

Graham Wilkinson, Director of Generus Living Group, says the new complex offers a premium living environment for seniors in one of Auckland’s most desirable suburbs, adjacent to the Auckland Domain.

“Through this union of commercial and charitable interests, we’re achieving two great things. Local residents will have access to a premium retirement village and the RNZFB gain long-term income potential.

“There is a clear need for an upscale comprehensive living environment for seniors in Parnell and its neighbouring suburbs. The area is currently underserved, and we’re honoured to partner with the Foundation to deliver this for the area,” says Mr Wilkinson.

Part of the reason the RNZFB selected Generus Living Group for this project is because of its proven experience in developing upscale retirement villages in partnership with charitable trusts, iwi and other not-for-profit entities.

The company is known for the creation of bespoke luxury villages with its developments receiving numerous awards and plaudits. A traditional design approach to the Village has been taken, including significant use of stone facades to complement the existing heritage buildings.

Mr Hoskin says the RNZFB worked extensively with PricewaterhouseCoopers to find the best way to leverage the charity’s assets to deliver long-term sustainable funding and to find the best partner for the project.

“This arrangement allows us retain a presence on the Parnell site with new premises, in conjunction with opening new offices in south and west Auckland to be closer to clients.

“Our Parnell precinct will always be our spiritual home. Since we purchased the land 130 years ago it has evolved to meet our needs. It’s decades since we stopped offering accommodation and workshops in Parnell and started putting the land to best use through commercial arrangements.

Today’s decision continues in that same vein. We value the historic significance of our Parnell block and look forward to its next evolution with Generus,” Mr Hoskin concludes.