The first project in a new model for retirement and aged care is taking shape in Tuggeranong, with the former Department of Social Services complex being transformed from the inside out in a $200 million redevelopment that will eventually be home to 500 residents by 2020.
A new player in the aged care sector, Brisbane-based LDK Healthcare is repurposing the former Tuggeranong Office Park in a joint venture with owner Cromwell Property Group.
The five-block site is being converted into a village with 380 apartments, ranging from one to three bedrooms, care facilities and services including retail, a library, bar, chapel and town hall.
The apartments will be 55 square metres for a one bedrooom up to 90 square metres for three beds, with their own kitchen, laundry bedroom/s, and ensuite. Groundfloor units will have courtyards, while units above will have balconies.
Blocks B and C have been fully stripped and the internal demolition of Block A is well under way. Block B with 11 apartments and much of the communal areas are expected to be complete by July 2019 with Block C to follow a couple of months later. Stage One will comprise 93 apartments.
LDK is also planning 16 secure dementia beds as part of a 50-bed high care hub.
It is spending millions on the latest technology including sensors, voice recognition and predictive technologies.
CEO Byron Cannon said the Tuggeranong project would be the first in a rollout of similar projects across Australia, with the site considered to be perfect for the company’s needs.
“They (Cromwell) approached us last year to look at the building. That building is absolutely perfectly built for repurposing to a residential feel,” he said.
“What’s been left behind in that building by DSS is an absolute blessing for us, including a 140-seat auditorium.”
Mr Cannon said LDK wanted the development to have a homely feel and be a vibrant community.
He said there was also big demand for seniors living in Canberra, where a lack of investment meant there was a large under-supply of that type of accommodation.
LDK (Love Decency Kindness) is promising a genuine alternative to retirement living and aged care with its one-move, integrated model.
Mr Cannon said the sector was very siloed with retirement living at one end of the spectrum and aged care at the other, with not many operators doing both.
“We’ve developed a model where we have a one-move promise. Once a resident moves in they’ll receive all the care they need through their ageing journey, without having to move,” he said.
“It’s a big promise that we make, and we’ll make sure we have all the care and quality of care that people need to age in place,” he said.
He said residents, or Village members, would have transparent costs up-front that were fixed for life, with no extra charges to move to higher levels of care.
The company is banking on free community memberships to anyone aged over 70 to embed it in the community and win business.
“Instead of marketing we decide to invest money in a community membership program to genuinely support people who want to stay at home for as long as possible because that’s what people want to do,” Mr Cannon said.
Members are entitled to an advice line, VIP member events, respite care, hospital-registered nurse assistance, a newsletter and priority entry into villages.
Mr Cannon said the company would be in a position to start signing up people early next month, which is earlier than expected due to the demand.
LDK is conducting forums at Town Centre Vikings with the next on Thursday 20 September at 10 am and Wednesday 26 September at 3 pm.