GemLife and Living Gems set to merge, setting up to be a bigger player in land lease communities

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Queensland-based land lease operators GemLife and Living Gems are planning to merge in late 2022, making GemLife the largest land lease operator in Australia.

GemLife CEO and Director Adrian Puljich (pictured) said after the merger goes ahead, GemLife will be set to grow to more than 10,000 land lease homes across 42 locations.

“The merger will represent an exciting new phase of GemLife’s growth, and we look forward to continuing to bring high-quality affordable housing for Australia’s over-50s. Our focus is on long term accommodation for seniors – we have no caravan, holiday parks, or rental villages within our portfolio.”

GemLife, which was launched in 2016, is owned by members of the Puljich family and financial partner, Thakral Capital. Living Gems – established in 1982 – is the Puljich’s family business.

Land lease going vertical

Adrian said GemLife is still in negotiations with Gold Coast Council over its pioneering vertical land lease development at Currumbin Waters. The company has scaled down its original proposal, which was rejected on appeal by the state’s Planning and Environment Court, from 340 to 216 apartments.

“We are satisfying the land lease regulations in Queensland, not some of them, all of them. We are guaranteeing mobility and the move from one place to another. The residents will own and occupy their homes and pay a weekly site fee, with 100% of any capital gains made retained,” Adrian said.

Adrian said finding broadacre sites was becoming more difficult.

“Land lease has grown incredibly quickly and finding the right land in the right location is challenging. We anticipate planning for more vertical land lease developments in the years ahead,” he said.

Victoria and expansion

GemLife is looking at opportunities for sites in Victoria this year. It has one site in Victoria, GemLife Woodend in the State’s Macedon Ranges Region, which opened in 2020.

GemLife is involved in the following projects this year:

  • First homes being built at GemLife Palmwoods in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Queensland, with first residents to move in in first quarter of 2022;
  • Civil construction team to break ground on Stage Two of GemLife Pacific Paradise, also on the Sunshine Coast, at the end of the month or in early February.
  • Council approval for first stage of construction for GemLife Gold Coast. A state-of-the-art sales centre will officially open next month;
  • Stage Five residential construction to begin when Stage Four homes are completed at GemLife Highfields, in Toowoomba;
  • Civil works is well underway at its boutique resort in Tweed Heads in northern NSW;
  • Civil works are underway at its first resort on the Mid North Coast of NSW, including commencement of works on a two-level country club. First slabs are due to be poured next month for stage one homes, and the resort’s permanent sales centre is nearing completion.
  • Building a tennis court and tennis clubhouse facilities at GemLife Woodend in Victoria.