Two blocks to boost Canberra’s tight supply of retirement living options

Canberra's tight supply of land earmarked for retirement living has received a welcome boost.Canberra's tight supply of land earmarked for retirement living has received a welcome boost. Photo: Jessica Shapiro

Canberra’s tight supply of land earmarked for retirement living has received a welcome boost with the Land Development Agency releasing two super blocks in Narrabundah and Monash.

The LDA is offering for sale by tender 37,442 square metres at 265 Goyder Street, Narrabundah.

The block is zoned RZ1 and allows for a retirement village of up to 100 independent living units or serviced units.

Further south, is a 39,864-square-metre block at 219 Clive Steele Avenue, Monash.

Its zoning allows for residential care accommodation or a retirement village of up to 120 independent living units or serviced apartments.

The block is close to shopping centres, medical, health and community facilities, and is only three kilometres to the Tuggeranong Town Centre.

Alastair MacCallum, of AMC Architecture, says the land releases would be a welcome boost for a sector that he believes is close to a tipping point.

“We are just at the beginning of a substantial movement of Canberrans into either downsized accommodation, like townhouses or apartments, or into planned retirement living developments,” he says.

“Demand is already beginning to outstrip supply. It’s really important that we get the policy settings right and soon.”

AMC’s Goodwin Monash Green retirement living development was acknowledged as Australia’s best in 2013.

MacCallum says retirement development design guidelines affected the maximum number of dwellings that could be constructed on a site.

“That affects a developer’s return which can also be a factor in financing,” he says.

Executive director of the ACT Master Builders’ Association Kirk Coningham agrees retirement living is a growing issue and says urban renewal is part of the solution.

“The release of these big blocks at Narrabundah and Monash is welcome, but downsizing and retirement options don’t need to be exclusively framed by big developments,” he says.

“The government has a commitment to urban renewal, but it would be fair to say that more flexibility is needed in how this is interpreted and delivered.”

Coningham says there are many vacant small-medium commercial sites throughout the ACT that could be repurposed for downsizers and retirees.

“Boutique suburban developments like these would allow people to remain in the communities they had become part of,” he says.

“We need to also be thinking about how people can be enabled to live independently longer. Technology will play a big role in that and much of that is already available.”

Tenders: Close on both blocks at 2pm on Thursday, April 20

Agents: Gavin Obst, Nick George, MMJ Real Estate Canberra 0408 490 066, 0419 205 619