Raggatt, T. ‘Baby boomers’ village grows,’ Townsville Bulletin, June 11, 2008, p. 23.

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Listed property trust Prime is riding the baby boomer wave.

The company is planning to invest more than $170 million expanding its retirement village at Carlyle Gardens, Condon over the next four years.

The number of independent living homes will be doubled to more than 720. Sixty-six assisted living serviced apartments will be built and a 90-bed aged care centre is planned and awaiting government approval.

Prime’s North Queensland project manager Peter Kirkham said Prime was responding to huge demand for resort-style living from baby boomers – those born during the post World War II baby boom and now in or approaching retirement.

The company is citing government projections of a 79 percent increase in Townsville’s 65-plus age group between 2006 and 2026.

“This whole village is going to be quite a showpiece… a model for the rest of Australia,” Mr. Kirkham said.

Expansive two and three-bedroom, single and double-garage homes are being built around a man-made lake, parkland and walkways.

Ninety-year leases on average priced homes are selling for between $375,000 and $405,000 in a first stage expansion but the largest homes are expected to sell for more than $500,000.

The village is also developing one and two-bedroom apartments, which will sell for between $294,000 and $340,000.

Mr. Kirkham said Prime was targeting two distinct markets among the baby boomers, those over 65 looking for a resort lifestyle and younger baby boomers aged around 55 seeking the latest digital and environmental technologies.

Prime was responding with plans for fibre optic connections as well as environmental features including a suite of energy innovations and options for roof-top solar photovoltaic panels.

“A lot of people want to be green but are not too sure how to go about it,” Mr. Kirkham said.

“We will be one of the first developers to put it together in a package.”

Prime bought the village last year for $49.5 million plus acquisition costs as part of the former Green retirement assets and has already built a 500-seat auditorium, bar and restaurant and gym.

A seven-day medical centre is also planned.

Despite the hype of community living, Townsville branch co-ordinator of the Association of Residents of Queensland Retirement Villages Glenn Bach warned buyers, if they decided to leave, could lose 30 percent of the value of their initial investment.

“What you do get is an improved lifestyle but it’s not for everybody,” Mr. Bach said.

“You do get a sense of community but you also become isolated from the wider community. You really have to take a good hard look at it because it’s a bit like going into a monastery.”

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