Grace on Albert: a continuum of care

The Grace, Albert Park Lake

A high-end retirement development that will allow ageing in place has opened its doors in inner Melbourne.

Residents have started moving into Australian Unity’s 18-storey The Grace Albert Park Lake, designed by leading Australian architects Fender Katsalidis.

The former commercial precinct is being transformed into a $123 million residential hub offering a continuum of care from retirement living to a future aged care and assisted living building in the same development, in a trend that is developing across the sector.

The prominent architects said the project met a shortage of ultra-high-end retirement living options close to the city with its mix of 79 one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

“We have created more than a building but what will become an entire precinct that centres on ageing in place for residents, starting with independent retirement living,” Fender Katsalidis associate director Jessica Lee said in a statement.

“While there are many premium, new apartment buildings that might target downsizers, among others, they aren’t catering specifically to the current and future needs of this demographic.

“There is the potential that an older person’s situation might change and they need to move into higher care. The precinct takes that burden off people and their families by offering an ease of experience and extremely low change in environment.

“Every consideration has been given to providing the best outcomes for residents particularly as we expect them to be calling this home for the remainder of their lives.”

The Albert Retirement Living Precinct is set to feature vertical aged care and assisted living apartments, starting construction works this year.

The overhaul of the former commercial precinct is part of Australian Unity’s $504m development pipeline of independent and assisted living projects around the country.

Others include Brisbane’s $168.4m Herston Quarter health precinct, Sydney’s $167m Lane Cove development and $45.9m Walmsley aged care, east of Melbourne.

In its full-year results presentation, Australian Unity said it would maintain a focus on its aged care and retirement development pipeline and was reviewing acquisition opportunities for both portfolios.

It operates 21 retirement communities across New South Wales and Victoria with almost 2500 independent living units.

Occupancy rates for their existing facilities are very high by industry standards, reported as 96 per cent. They also reported a 96 per cent occupancy for their aged care portfolio of 786 beds across seven facilities in Victoria and New South Wales.

Industry analysts Ibis World have highlighted the move to creating integrated seniors living precincts.

“Over the next five years, more retirement units are forecast to be co-located with aged-care facilities, fostering the development of wellbeing precincts for seniors,” the Aged Care Residential Services report said.

“At the same time, the distinction between different types of care in the aged-care sector is likely to become increasingly blurred.

“New business models will likely incorporate partnership elements as industry operators work with allied health organisations, including medical facilities, pharmacies and other professionals, to complement their integrated care offerings.”


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