The first residents of the Oaks on Neville, in central Warkworth, could be moving in by May next year.
Despite some complications in the early stages of construction, mainly due to the amount of water found under the site, the first two apartment blocks are now well underway. Together, they will contain at least 63 apartments ranging in size from 55sqm to 142sqm.
While the costs of the apartments won’t be confirmed for another couple of months, indicative prices range from $425,000 for the smaller units up to $1.2 million.
Developer Chris Murphy says he is surprised that the largest and most expensive apartments have been snapped up first.
“Around 33 apartments have already been reserved, and we expect demand to be strong once the structures rise above ground,” Mr Murphy says.
Most of the interest has come from Mahurangi residents, although enquiries have been fielded from Auckland as well.
Anyone applying for an apartment must be aged 60 years-plus, while the average age for entry into retirement homes generally in New Zealand is 78 years. The industry has an annual turnover of seven years.
Mr Murphy says like other retirement complexes, the Oaks will offer residents social activities and every apartment will have an emergency call system.
“Eventually, when the whole development is complete, there is likely to be a full time activities coordinator, as well as staff on site 24/7, but we may have to roll this out gradually. The area above the current tavern will be retained by the village as a communal space for social events.”
The first stage will also include a gym and pool for residents, cafe and eight retail shops, and parking for 100 vehicles.
Mr Murphy says the five-storey blocks will be about half the height the current crane on site. He says a lot of effort has gone in to the exterior finish to make it as attractive as possible. Residents who buy during construction will have the opportunity to individualise their apartments with their own colour scheme, choice of carpets, bathroom tiles and kitchen bench tops.
The developers hope to apply for a resource consent for the second stage of the development – a third block of possibly 46 apartments, plus a ground floor care facility and retail shops on Neville Street – before July. It is anticipated it will open in 2020.
Meanwhile, some preliminary plans have been drawn up for a fourth apartment block on the corner of Mill Lane and Whitaker Road. The half-hectare site is likely to includes stream frontage, retail and up to 60 apartments.
A project sales office is due to open in the former Warkworth Hotel in April.