New land lease developer announces arrival with pipeline of 550 homes

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Award-winning property developer Simon Chappel has announced he is venturing into land lease for retirees with a pipeline of more than 550 homes across three sites in South Australia.

Mr Chappel’s new business Bestlife is planning to build 80 homes at Playford Waters, with prices starting from $220,000. The land lease structure is attracting investment from ASX-listed Ingenia Communities and Stockland, which is looking to dominate the sector with its 3,000-plus pipeline of dwellings.

Bestlife is planning to build a gated community of 80 homes at Playford Waters, adjacent to the Munno Para Shopping Centre, with prices starting from $220,000. There will 320 homes at Victor Harbor, about 1km west of the town’s main street.

In Adelaide’s CBD, Bestlife has secured a 1900sqm site where it wants to build more than 150 land lease apartments across 15 storeys in a vertical model.

“The issue with affordable retirement is that it doesn’t work in Adelaide because the land costs are too high,” he said.

“This is a way to allow people to retire affordably in the city. We can sell them an apartment that enables them to lease the shell and buy the fit-out – it’s the same concept as land lease but the high-rise model has never been done before as far as I’m aware. It’s much more like the English model.”

In July, Mr Chappel and business partner David Smallacombe sold the multi award-winning On Statenborough in Leabrook, one of Adelaide’s finest heritage suburbs, to Resthaven, the South Australian aged care community service of the Not For Profit Uniting Church of Australia.

“We’d been running that for many years and I could see there really was a need for people that couldn’t afford to move into a facility like that or didn’t want to move to a facility like that,” Mr Chappel said.

“The land lease opportunity was something I’d been watching for some time but we didn’t really start moving into that area until we purchased the site at Playford Waters which is our first launch.”

The land lease sector is attracting investment from major players including ASX-listed Ingenia Communities and Stockland, which has a 3,000-plus pipeline of dwellings.