Leading retirement village operator Metlifecare is on an exciting new growth trajectory, with the launch of an ambitious five-year development plan that will set a new benchmark for retirement living in New Zealand.
Following a change of guard late last year to new owners, Swedish investment firm EQT, the organisation has ramped up investment, both into its existing portfolio of 26 North Island villages and into the development of additional sites. Metlifecare is expected to announce new village developments by the end of this year, while next year the organisation is tipped to become one of the biggest apartment developers in Auckland.
According to General Manager of Development Matt Wickham, the hefty investment will transform the lifestyle opportunities for New Zealand’s ageing population and set Metlifecare firmly apart from the country’s other retirement village brands.
“Our development philosophy differs from other operators – we start with the customer,” said Wickham.
“We think carefully about where the next generation of retirees will want to live and what their expectations are. We know our future residents are accustomed to high-end architecture, they appreciate outstanding urban design and they want to be proud to show their children and grandchildren where they live.”
Flagship developments such as Metlifecare’s award-winning Gulf Rise (which opened in 2019) and its newest village Pohutukawa Landing (which welcomed its first residents last month) are stellar examples.
“We look at outstanding acquisition opportunities, for example on or near the coast, with strong links to the local community, a sense of connection and place, and desirable lifestyle features. We then use award-winning architects and landscape designers to come up with bespoke designs that reflect the land and community around which they’re built.”
Inspired by a philosophy of openness and connectedness, Gulf Rise won a 2020 Auckland Architecture Award for its success in challenging the stereotypical approach to retirement village planning. Stage two of construction is currently underway at the highly acclaimed Red Beach lifestyle village, which features plenty of public and private spaces, generous walking tracks and gardens, and next-level retirement living.
Meanwhile, in Beachlands, demand for Metlifecare’s coastal masterpiece Pohutukawa Landing has exceeded expectations - over half of the stage one villas were sold before they officially went to market, prompting an early release date of stage two villas. Adding to the line-up of new offerings is Metlifecare’s Fairway Gardens (New Zealand’s first-ever retirement village to be located adjacent to a golf course, scheduled to open next year in Botany), and Orion Point (currently being built in an unrivalled location in the heart of Hobsonville).
As part of the new five-year business strategy, many existing Metlifecare villages will also get a whole lot of love, such as East Auckland’s Edgewater Village, which is undergoing a massive transformation, including the addition of a 24-bed care home, new apartments, spectacular swimming pool and spa, café, gymnasium, library, cinema and lounge.
And with a growing development team of both highly experienced and up-and-coming talent, there’s a lot more growth in the pipeline with new villages and care homes, marking a strong focus on the continuum of care.
“We’ve set a goal of purchasing a lot more land over the next five years, significantly expanding our footprint outside Auckland as we strive to meet the needs of New Zealand’s ageing population. We’ll be doubling our care offering with plans to offer a minimum of one dementia community per region within the next five years, too.”
By expanding the development pipeline outside of Auckland and into other desirable retirement areas, Metlifecare hopes to create lower density housing developments that offer the relaxed lifestyle most Kiwis aspire to.
“We’re breaking the industry norm of large, overwhelming blocks onsite. It’s a point of difference we’re proud of.”
This transformational growth plan will ensure the creation of beautifully designed villages and care homes that not only meet the demands of New Zealand’s retirees but also firmly secure Metlifecare’s place as the country’s leading provider of retirement villages and aged care.
“There are exciting times ahead!”