Australian Unity and Ord Minnett team up on $125m seniors living project

Proposed 15-storey premium seniors community opposite Albert Park Lake in Melbourne.

Australian Unity has teamed up with private wealth management group Ord Minnett (Ords) as part of its newly formed Private Capital division to fund the development of a $125 million, 15-storey premium seniors community at its former head office opposite Albert Park Lake in Melbourne.

Co-located with Australian Unity’s newest retirement village, The Grace – opened late last year – the mixed-use community facility will form part of an integrated wellbeing precinct and include 84 residential aged-care places, 71 assisted living apartments, rooftop private dining and a wellness centre.

Ryan Banting, General Manager of Social Infrastructure at Australian Unity, said the demographic drivers for high-quality seniors accommodation, including assisted living apartments and specialist aged care, are clear.

“This precinct will enable people to access a continuum of home and health care options to meet their changing needs,” Mr Banting said.

“Despite the ongoing social and economic uncertainty stemming from the pandemic, coupled with regulatory change that will likely flow from the Aged Care Royal Commission’s recommendations, there is a growing understanding that we need to find new ways to invest in high quality accommodation and services for those in our community aged 80 and over.”

Mr Banting said that “for more than two decades Australian Unity has been
deploying private capital to the facilities and services that will sustain us as a society, enrich our communities and strengthen our economy.”

Trent Donnelly, Director of Private Capital at Ord Minnett, said that he was delighted to be able to offer investors a compelling income investment opportunity.

“Australian Unity has a proven track record in the sector, as a trusted investment manager and early adopter of the integrated precinct model spanning home care, retirement living and residential aged care. This partnership will enable us to tap into their experience to provide new investment opportunities in high quality seniors accommodation, supported by client demand for high quality care, to our investors.”

The community will be designed and operated under Australian Unity’s Better Together® model of care which includes higher staff-to-resident ratios, consistency of staff rostered to each household of residents, short distances to living spaces, and meals prepared within the household.

Research has shown that this type of model can improve the quality of life for residents, with outcomes including a 73 percent lower chance of an emergency department presentation, a 52 percent lower chance of being prescribed a potentially inappropriate medication, and a 68 percent lower rate of hospital admission. (Dyer et al, 2018)

Mr Banting said while COVID-19 has increased demand for services delivered in the homes of older Australians, high-quality seniors accommodation remains a more attractive and affordable option for residents who are seeking companionship, round-the-clock care and peace of mind.

Karl Morris, CEO and Managing Director of Ord Minnett said their investor base would benefit from the partnership, and relish the opportunity to play a meaningful role in supporting the development of a vital community for seniors in Melbourne’s Inner South.

“With origins tracing back to the 1800s, both Ord Minnett and Australian Unity share a mutual understanding and appreciation of the important role private capital can play in funding the future retirement and aged care accommodation that Australians want and need.”

Since 2004 Australian Unity has raised more than $442 million to develop 224 contemporary retirement units, 71 assisted living apartments, and circa. 381 residential aged care places across Australia’s eastern seaboard.

Construction is due to begin later this month, and the development of the seniors community is scheduled for completion in late calendar 2022.


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