Merewether Golf Club Approved for $120m Seniors Living Project

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Development plans for a $120 million seniors living village development at Merewether Golf Club in Newcastle have advanced after receiving a nod of approval from the regional planning panel.

The senior living precinct would sit within the golf course located between Adamstown and Merewether, with the proposed project to include 148 serviced units within a tower development.

Thirdi Group and Merewether Golf Club’s plans were given concept approval by the Hunter and Central coast Regional Planning Panel. The proposal, including the wellness centre, comprises four separate towers on two podiums above car parking.

Merewether Golf Club captain Aaron Spalding said the project would help secure the club’s financial future, after starting the process four years ago.

“It also paves the way for significant investment to take place in our course infrastructure and facilities, something that was really important to our members when we decided to explore this type of partnership with Thirdi Group.”

▲ 40 King Street Adamstown. Thirdi Group & Merewether Golf Club secures development approval from regional Planning Panel for its proposed $120 million seniors living village development in Newcastle.

▲ The existing site plan.marchese partners

The project, which was announced by the club in 2016, involves a 99-year lease of the development land to Thirdi Group.

“These are the sorts of developments our community needs in a Covid-19 recovery,” Thirdi Group’s Luke Berry said.

“We estimate that our project will create over 1000 jobs in the region during construction and close to 100 ongoing jobs when the new club, facilities and seniors living village is operational.”

The site compatibility certificate, granted by the planning panel, ensures development proposals are broadly compatible with land uses, before advancing to the development application lodgement stage.

Thirdi Group will now work with the club to finalise its development application, with plans to lodge the project with Newcastle City Council by mid-year.

See full article here: https://theurbandeveloper.com/

Regional Planning Panel approves concept for $120m seniors living project at Merewether Golf Club

Thirdi Group will lodge a development application for its $120 million joint-venture seniors living project at Merewether Golf Club before the end of the financial year.

The group’s directors met with club officials and members at the course on Tuesday to celebrate the approval of a site compatibility certificate for the development.

The Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel approved the concept plans for the site early last week, allowing Thirdi Group to progress with a DA.

The proposed development, unveiled by the club in mid-2017 and endorsed by members a year later, includes 148 serviced apartments, a new clubhouse, health and fitness centre and other associated amenities.

“We’d like to think we can lodge [the DA] by the end of June,” Thirdi Group sales director Luke Berry said.

“The bulk and scale has essentially been approved by the state government and we’re now going to submit our plans that fit within that bulk and scale. [The] project will create over 1000 jobs in the region during construction and close to 100 ongoing jobs when the new club, facilities and seniors living village is operational”.

Thirdi Group is aiming to create a lifestyle precinct at the course. Its aged care business Third Age will manage the seniors living apartments which, if approved, will be constructed in four six-storey unit blocks along one of the existing fairways adjoining the redeveloped clubhouse.

“The golf club will benefit from a new clubhouse, restaurant facilities and a wellness centre that will be shared between the club [members] and the community of the seniors village,” Mr Berry said.

“We’re proposing a 25-metre lap pool, gym, consult rooms so you can have local businesses come to the facility. The broader community will benefit from a multi-million dollar clubhouse, restaurant, sports bar and we’d like to think, back to the olds days when this club was centre to weddings and conferences, we’re going to be able to create that for this club and the community.”

NEXT STEP: Thirdi Group director Luke Berry, right, speaks at the course on Tuesday.

 NEXT STEP: Thirdi Group director Luke Berry, right, speaks at the course on Tuesday.

Speaking on behalf of the board, Merewether Golf Club captain Aaron Spalding said the project, which involves a 99-year lease of the development land to Thirdi Group, would help secure the club’s long-term financial future.

“We started this process close to five years ago and the SCC is the strongest indication yet our shared vision of a creating a world class golfing facility and seniors living precinct is on track to become a reality,” he said.

“Not only will this development help secure our clubs future, it also paves the way for significant investment to take place in our course infrastructure and facilities.”

City of Newcastle objected to the development in its assessment made to the panel, suggesting it was inconsistent with the strategic context and vision for the area.

It raised concerns with the height, scale and character of the proposed development and likely traffic impacts on local streets, including up to a 50 per cent increase in traffic at the King Street and Glebe Road intersection.

But the Department of Planning said in its submission that “current strategic planning does not specifically deal with this site” and “an opportunity exists for a development that takes advantage of the large site to minimise offsite impacts while allowing for the continued use of the golf course”.

The planning panel ultimately approved the SCC subject to a number of conditions that require additional plans to be lodged with the development application regarding landscaping, tree retention, design standards and traffic impacts.

Merewether Golf Club’s $120M Plan Gains Momentum

Merewether Golf Club is celebrating today.

The Newcastle-based club, located two hours north of Sydney between Adamstown and Merewether, has just been handed its site compatibility certificate for the development of an impressive, $120 million seniors’ living village.

The certificate – received after a unanimous decision from the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel – provides the mechanism for future development consent to be obtained from Newcastle City Council across the site.

Merewether GC has teamed up with property developer Thirdi Group to envisage a project that looks to include: a new clubhouse; sports bar; pro shop & conference centre; as well as the provision for 148 serviced, self-care seniors’ living units and wellness centre, within a multi-story tower development with basement parking and associated facilities.

“We are absolutely thrilled with this outcome,” said Merewether Golf Club board member Aaron Spalding.

“We started this process close to four years ago and the SCC is the strongest indication yet our shared vision of a creating a world-class golfing facility and seniors’ living precinct is now on track to become a reality.”

Added Luke Berry from Thirdi Group: “These are the sorts of developments our community needs in a COVID-19 recovery, providing jobs during construction and importantly providing housing for those that have been identified as our most vulnerable during the crisis.

“We estimate that our project will create over 1,000 jobs in the region during construction and close to 100 ongoing jobs when the new club, facilities and seniors living village is operational.”

Merewether’s golf course was established in 1933 and currently features tight, tree-line fairways with strategic bunkers and numerous water hazards.

The club’s board has commissioned golf course architect James Wilcher, founder of Golf by Design, to provide course design assistance – and the following changes to the course would be made should the development go ahead …

  • Dismantle the existing 18th hole to cater for the proposed development.
  • Split the existing par-5 11th into a par-3 and a par-4.
  • Extend the existing 16th to become a dogleg left par-4
  • Consolidate the dam infrastructure … This is yet to be finalised but current considerations include: Additional dams proposed for the current 1st, 2nd and 8th holes; modifying the dams on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes.
  • Extend the existing 9th to become a par-5
  • Change the 7th and 8th from a par-4 and par-3 to become a par-3 and par-4 respectively.

Thirdi Group will now work with the golf club and its consultants to finalise its Development Application and lodge with Newcastle City Council later in May or June this year.

Further details of the multi-million dollar project – including draft designs – can be found by visiting the club’s website.

MEREWETHER GOLF COURSE TO INCORPORATE SENIORS LIVING PRECINCT

By

Adam Murray

Merewether Golf Club has been given major development approval to create a senior living precinct within the golf course between Adamstown and Merewether.

The $120 million project includes the creation of 148 serviced, self-care seniors living units and wellness center, within a multi-story tower.

A new clubhouse will also be constructed with a new restaurant, sports bar, pro shop & conference centre.

The development is estimated to create more than a thousand jobs during construction.

100 ongoing jobs will also be created when the new club, facilities and seniors living village are operational.1 of 4 

Real estate developer Thirdi Group is partnering with the golf club with the development.

Director of Project Management, Robert Huxley said the developer is now looking forward to finalise its development application.

“We now look forward to working with Newcastle City Council… and deliver on
our promise to create one of the best Golf Clubs & Seniors Living precincts ever seen in the Newcastle & Hunter Region”.

Merewether Golf Club board member Aaron Spalding said they’ve been working on the project for close to 5 years.

“Not only will this development help secure our clubs future, it also paves the way for significant investment to take place in our course infrastructure and facilities.”

Reporter Tyson Cottrill will have more details tonight at 6.

Former top Lendlease retirement executive Michael Eggington has joined boutique residential developer Thirdi to spearhead the company’s first foray into retirement living development, ThirdAge.

Former top Lendlease retirement executive Michael Eggington has joined boutique residential developer Thirdi to spearhead the company’s first foray into retirement living development, ThirdAge.ThirdAge, the company’s latest initiative that will see the developer, which has already amassed a strong portfolio of high-end inner-city developments in Sydney, including 88 on Regent and Paragon in Pyrmont, move into one of the most in-demand niche residential markets on the eastern seaboard.
ThirdAge plans to partner with groups with large land holdings such as golf, tennis and bowling clubs to develop their property into retirement lifestyle villages and share profits from homes sold. This model will also help some of the club partners create new revenue streams.

Michael Eggington moves on to ThirdAge. Aran Anderson
Considered disruptive, Thirdi director Luke Berry says ThirdAge’s retirement living model will veer away from a deferred management-fee model.

The group has kicked off the venture with a private acquisition of a 3500sq m site in Castle Cove, a suburb in Sydney’s lower north shore which looks onto the middle harbour.

The deal has not completed but when it is, it has the capacity for around 20 to 25 retirement living apartments. After the development of this first stage, the group intends to expand the site into more units.ThirdAge is also in the process of including 20 apartments which are National Disability Insurance Scheme compliant at its upcoming 300-apartment project Stella in Newcastle, north of Sydney.
For those apartments, ThirdAge has also enlisted lifestyle retirement village service provider Novacare, which can provide retiree owners with a medical “evolution package”.

Each of these home will also be purpose-built to fit the changing needs of retirees, for example, convertible space to fit wheelchairs or other equipment.

ThirdAge plans to work in tandem with Century 21 Newcastle to market the units and also source qualified buyers through the Good Samaritan.

It will benefit from Mr Eggington’s leadership in carrying out the new venture. He was with Lendlease for four years before he left the group in January.

As managing director of Lendlease Retirement Living he was responsible for consolidating their retirement business, which included more than 70 villages nationally.

He was also previously in Stockland’s retirement business.

https://www.afr.com/real-estate/exlendlease-exec-michael-eggington-to-lead-thirdis-new-retirement-living-division-20180413-h0yqey

This Senior Moment is a Good Thing

This Senior Moment is a Good Thing

By Rohan Clarke
Small rather than large residential gold estates is the new trend in golf-course living. And seniors living developments are at the forefront for many clubs that wish to secure their long-term future. Australian Golf Digest spoke to three experts about the phenomenon of ‘Retiring On The Fairway’.

Seniors Living: The Merewether Experience
Merewether Golf Club in Newcastle has taken advantage of zoning legislation in NSW to create a seniors living development in exchange for course improvements and a clubhouse redevelopment. However, Merewether will retain ownership of the land to be used for the retirement complex. Merewether is leasing a 1,400sqm parcel of land for 99 years to property developer Thirdi, which is building six floors of apartments for over-55’s.
A minimum of 150 units is planned, depending on the development approval. Private golf clubs that own their own land are subject to state planning legislation. In NSW, seniors living complexes designed for over-55’s are permitted on golf courses even if the zoning is non-residential. The NSW government actively encourages these properties for pensioners or older couples under State Environment Planning Policy Number 65 (SEPP65) whereas Victoria and other states don’t make allowances. Therefore, in some cases, it’s actually beneficial to have zoning as RE2 (recreational private) as opposed to general residential because it provides greater scope to undertake development.
For example, Merewether is able to pursue a development with unlimited height restrictions. Whereas if its land were zoned residential it would have a limitation of say, two floors. Merewether put its development plan to tender on the open market to identify who had the best offering. The value of the land was placed at $16.5 million, which is the total amount the club will receive from Thirdi. Merewether has allocated $9 million for the construction of a new clubhouse. At least $1.5 million will be spent on course renovations as a consequence of the seniors living development. That provides for relocation of the maintenance shed and ensuring the course remains as an 18-hole layout and at least a par 70 during the construction period. Another $500,000 has been set aside for temporary facilities while $3.5 million will be invested into income-generating assets.
Rather than selling off part of its course Merewether is actually leasing the parcel of land to Third over a 99 year period. The developer has the right to put a seniors living development in place. The golf club earns an income off the lease and Merewether also receives a percentage of the deferred management fee (DMF). The contract accords the golf club a percentage of any apartments sold under the banner of that development. So Merewether collects 2% of the value of apartments that are sold to members (for instance, $20,000 on $1million unit). The developer wishes to minimise costs in the marketing of the apartments and similarly the golf club wants as many members as possible to buy into the units. Then every time an apartment is re-sold, a management fee is applied to the sale price. This is typical of all seniors living or aged-care units. For example, a person buys a seniors living apartment for $1 million.
The person lives in that unit for 15 years before its sold for $2 million. In the Merewether instance, the DMF is 25% of the $2 million which is $500,000 and the golf club gets a share of that DMF. All the risk is with the property developer rather than the golf club. Merewether retains ownership of the course but still gets the benefits of being able to utiliser it, says Aaron Spalding captain of Merewether Golf Club.
“Everything has been funded by the developer. We don’t do anything until we’ve either got the money from the developer or there is an approval stage which says we’re going to get the money.” Off the back of what’s occurring at Merewether, Spalding formed a company (Valentem Consulting) to advise golf clubs. he figured that private golf courses have become targets of developers because they are asset-rich in terms of land. Because of the nature of club cards, they don’t necessarily have the knowledge to equally negotiate with developers. With a background in finance and general management, Spalding says: “I have seen clubs not receiving full value from developers, in some cases outright predatory behaviour, so I’m seeking to help them out where I can.”
While development deals exist for private golf clubs that own their land, there are still opportunities for ‘public’ courses that lease land from a council, water utility or other landlord. Spalding says it’s worth examining the terms of the lease and what it allows.
For instance, if a club has a 50-year lease and the lease allows building on that land. It may be a case where it requires a renegotiation with council to say this is what needs to happen to ensure the ongoing viability of the golf club.
As long as council wants to ensure the ‘green space’ is maintained and isn’t seeking to replace the golf course with sporting fields, there is still scope to renegotiate a longer-term lease. And the longer the timeframe that is available, the more attractive the return from a developer’s viewpoint. Additionally, the prospect of a seniors living development integrated with the course delivers increased rates revenue to council.
Thinking laterally, senior residents have the potential to be the lifeblood of a golf club. A seniors living operator has a legislative requirement to provide food to all of its residents. So if a golf club puts in a caveat for food/beverage across the entire area, suddenly the club is in a position of authority to control the pricing and generate revenue. Golf clubs need to think outside the square rather than “next year we’ll get 25 new members”. First National Real Estate’s Ellis says golf clubs may need to make brave decisions with regard to their land use: “It comes down to how a golf club is going to maximise their investment. Their strategic
plan is to get more members. Well, how are they going to get more members if golf is a dying sport? How are they going to protect their asset?”