The office will be headed up by Summerset’s new General Manager of Development for Australia Paul Morris, formerly General Manager of Development in NZ.
Summerset have been assessing the Australian market and how they would position themselves and operate within it since last year.
Speaking at the group’s AGM, CEO Julian Cook says the company sees further growth likely to come from Australia, which was “an exciting opportunity”.
Asked why they chose Melbourne as their Australian base, Morris tells us they looked at other cities but found Melbourne very similar to New Zealand in its ‘consenting paths’ and offered ‘subtle but significant’ attractions over other states.
He has brought with him a Commercial Manager and is currently building an understanding of how the Australian market works – product, customers and development partners.
They are actively seeking sites and will bring the NZ ‘continuum of care’ campus to its developments (integrated retirement village/service department/residential aged care).
Summerset has more than doubled in size since listing on the NZX in 2011 under then-CEO Norah Barlow’s leadership. Currently they have 23 villages being developed or completed across NZ and another seven ready for development.
They will join fellow NZ operator Ryman Healthcare, who arrived six years ago and have seven village and aged care sites built or in development around Melbourne and close-by regional areas.
Paul Morris says they are not concerned about the size of the market or competition with Ryman for sites.