12 April 2024

Work starts on Goodwin's latest retirement village amid growing demand

| Ian Bushnell
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Chair of the board at Goodwin Leisel Wett and Chief Executive Officer of Manteena Group Mark Bauer break ground on the Downer project

Chair of the board at Goodwin Leisel Wett and Chief Executive Officer of Manteena Group Mark Bauer break ground on the Downer project. Photo: Goodwin.

Construction has started on a new Goodwin retirement village in Downer that will add 129 dwellings to the growing aged care sector, including an affordable component for the first time in Canberra.

Goodwin Village Downer, the not-for-profit’s sixth, was expected to begin in 2022, but like many projects in the aftermath of the pandemic, it has been delayed by supply chain constraints.

Goodwin says the village was designed to supply quality affordable options by offering both independent and assisted living apartments, aiding older residents in upholding their quality of life amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

A partnership with Community Housing Canberra (CHC) will ensure that a number of units are reserved for CHC to provide low-income housing for seniors in need.

Demand for the 109 two- and three-bedroom independent living apartments and 20 single-bedroom assisted living apartments has been strong. More than half have already been sold.

This reflects what the Property Council calls a silver tsunami of older Australians needing homes to age in place.

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Located on Melba Street and Bradfield Avenue, around the corner from the Dickson shops, the four-storey Goodwin Village Downer will also offer a range of shared amenities, including a clubhouse, gym, library, landscaped gardens and alfresco dining areas, as well as an on-staff lifestyle officer.

Speaking at a sod-turning and smoking ceremony at the site, Goodwin Aged Care Services chair Leisel Wett said the Downer project would be the first retirement village in Canberra to offer affordable housing properties for senior Canberrans.

“It is also a first for Goodwin to include assisted living accommodation for those requiring extra support.”

Render of Goodwin Downer

An artist’s impression of Goodwin Downer: timeless design. Image: CK Architecture.

Ms Wett said the village design encapsulated a strong community atmosphere, so it fitted into the local neighbourhood.

“We were very much attracted to this location because of its proximity to the stores and the nearby public transport corridor.”

Federal Member for Canberra Alicia Payne and ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury also attended the ceremony.

Ms Payne praised the community ethos of the Goodwin villages.

“I have visited many of the Goodwin retirement villages here in Canberra, and they have such a great community feel … this is so important for Canberra because we really need more affordable housing, and assisted living is something that we always need more of as well,” she said.

“So, I think this is a fantastic development for Canberra”.

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The new retirement village is very much a Canberra project. Local firm CK Architecture is designing it, and leading ACT construction company Manteena is building it.

CK Architecture principal Cassandra Keller has said that the project has a strong environmental focus, featuring water and waste management, solar power and energy efficiency.

According to Ms Keller, the building itself is stylistically timeless, with terracotta and dark grey facades, a nod to the deep red brick of Canberra’s timeless early residential buildings.

Next month, Goodwin will mark 70 years as a leading aged care service provider.

living area

What the units will look like. Image: CK Architecture.

The latest Procore/Property Council Survey reveals Australia’s retirement living industry is forecasting strong confidence around construction activity over the coming 12 months, while capital value growth sentiment has bounced back in most jurisdictions after a decline in the previous quarter.

Confidence in retirement construction activity is at its highest since December 2021

Retirement Living Council executive director Daniel Gannon said this positive sentiment was another reason for the Federal Government to include retirement communities as a key part of achieving the National Housing Accord target to build 1.2 million new homes by 2029.

“With the number of Australians over the age of 75 set to increase from 2 million to 3.4 million by 2040, more age-friendly housing that keeps people out of hospital and aged care facilities must be supported by all levels of government,” he said.

Goodwin Downer is one of several retirement villages under construction in Canberra to meet the growing demand, including LendLease’s $80 million Gold Creek Homestead development in Ngunnawal and LDK’s $250 million Amberfield in Weston/Yarralumla.

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