The winners of the 2019 National Retirement Living Awards have been revealed at a Gala Dinner on the Gold Coast, on 21 November.
According to a report by the Property Council of Australia (PCA), approximately 184,000 Australians currently live in retirement villages, or 5.7 per cent of the over 65 population.
This penetration rate is projected to increase to 7.5 per cent in 2025, which means that the need for comfortable, affordable and supportive retirement living options is on the rise.
The National Retirement Living Awards aim to recognise high achievement across all areas of the retirement living sector, by people and companies helping to ensure senior Australians have an enjoyable retirement.
Demaine Partnership took out the nettleontribe award for Design Excellence for its work on the Benson retirement village in the prestigious suburb or Toorak.
The 4-level, 33 apartment complex was designed to provide superior accommodation in independent living units for its residents.
Notable features include manicured gardens, an on-site concierge to assist in managing resident’s day-to-day needs, the beautifully appointed Club Ebsworth (complete with a fireplace, library, fully stocked bar and outdoor terrace as well as a gym), needed to maintain physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
The project evolved from a social mission – how to preserve the loved but crumbling St Peters parish church which was heritage listed.
The availability of land around the church led the parish committee to pursue a visionary solution that would see the development of a new retirement community and that would simultaneously reinvigorate the area and assist in funding restoration of the church and parish facilities.
The PCA said the Benson presents an outstanding example of how to address the problems arising from the dual issues of an ageing population in established inner urban areas and a shortage of land to enable development of new housing that meets their needs.
Central to the solution was the creation of a retirement community that remains connected to its surroundings.
The Benson meets the Liveable Housing Code gold standard to allow the retrofitting of mobility aids and to enable accessibility for residents as they age.
It also offers a wide range of apartment types to meet changing market demand.
The architect for the project was Simon Hanger of the Demaine Partnership and the builder was Buxton Construction.
The Keeley Green Interior Design Award for Best Refurbishment acknowledges village operators and/or companies who have conducted the refurbishment of retirement village units and facilities that improve the quality of residents’ experience while ensuring minimal disruption. This year, it was presented to Lendlease for its impressive work on the Ardency Trebartha redevelopment project.
Ardency Trebartha is a vertical village comprising 56 independent living units with a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments. The property was constructed in 1986 and was acquired by Lendlease in 2015.
Residents remained on-site except for four days when each residential corridor was being refurbished and overhead services, ceilings, floors and lift lobbies were being replaced.
During the six months of works, residents were required to wear personal protective equipment and be escorted by a staff member when leaving their apartments or re-entering the building. The project was delivered safely without any critical incidents for residents, staff or workers.
Several measures were taken to minimise disruption to residents and keep them engaged during the refurbishment process. This included budgeting for day trips when works would be particularly inconvenient, regular consultation and ‘floor meetings’ to discuss the works, Saturday morning ‘hard hat’ tours of work areas, and staging of works to minimise inconvenience.
The refurbishment was officially opened in February 2019 and has delivered residents a new rooftop conservatory and terrace offering stunning views over Rushcutters Bay, as well as amenities such as a luxury cinema, bar, library, lounge and salon. The new Shuk café on the site provides an exciting Middle Eastern-themed menu and in-room dining for residents. Eight levels of residential corridors and lift lobbies were also upgraded.
The PCA noted that resident satisfaction has greatly increased since the project commenced in September 2017.
A full list of winners in the 2019 National Retirement Living Awards:
National Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year – Ross Dunning, Rylands of Hawthorn (Arcadia Group)
Ingenia Communities Award for Future Retirement Living Leader – Nidhi Saunders (Lendlease)
Imagine Projects Award for Salesperson of the Year – Jane Flynn (Stockland)
Novas Award for Retirement Living Innovation – Serviced Apartments Home Care Brokerage Model (Stockland)
Keeley Green Interior Design Award for Best Refurbishment – Ardency Trebartha (Lendlease)
nettletontribe Award for Design Excellence – The Benson (Demaine Partnership)
Wise Agency Award for Marketing Excellence – Plantations by Ingenia Lifestyle (Ingenia Communities)