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Masonic Trust to create Hutt benchmark

The Masonic Villages Trust is embarking on a $35 million development which it says will set the benchmark for quality retirement living in the Hutt Valley.

Contracts for building the first stage of the development were signed at the Lower Hutt City Council chambers this afternoon. The successful tenderers are Armstrong Downes Commercial Ltd, which will handle construction and JB Hughes Ltd, which is responsible for the ground work.

“The Trust has made the city its home for more than 50 years, so it is very satisfying to be able to contract the work to two other established Lower Hutt businesses. It’s the biggest building project the city has seen in several years,” Masonic Villages Limited chief executive Warick Dunn says.

The first stage of what will be known as The Woburn Apartments will be completed by October next year. Site preparation works are well underway.When the 47 apartments in the first stage are built, residents will have access to two conservatories, a small library, a ‘men’s shed’, and a bar and lounge overlooking the Hutt River.

Mr Dunn says there has been no active marketing of the development as yet, but he has been heartened by the level of interest from prospective residents. Prices for occupation right agreements range from $250,000 to $610,000. “All one-bedroom apartments in the first stage are spoken for, as are 30 per cent of the two and three bedroom suites. At this stage we are taking registrations of interest, but some potential residents have already formally signed up.”

When the 39 apartments in the second stage are completed in 2015, the full range of village amenities will be available. A spacious entrance lobby will lead to reception, a hairdressing and beauty salon, café and dining area, snooker room and an indoor bowls and games area. On the first floor, serviced by lift and stairs, there will be a library, an IT and office suite, arts and craft room, theatre for movies and live entertainment, exercise room, gym, spa and sauna, and a large lounge and bar opening out on to a deck.

The Woburn Apartments are being built in the grounds of the Woburn Masonic Village, alongside the existing Masonic rest home and hospital. The main boundaries of the development are the Hutt River, Whites Line West and Wai-iti Terrace.

“The apartments will set the benchmark for quality retirement living in the Hutt Valley and are designed for a new generation of residents who expect to lead comfortable active lifestyles in their retirement,” Mr Dunn says. They range in size from 53 to 122 square metres, many of them with grandstand views of the Hutt River, north to the Tararuas and south to Wellington. Residents will not only have access to the facilities of the village, they will also be within easy reach of the many recreational and social amenities that Lower Hutt has to offer, Mr Dunn says.

The Woburn Apartments are the most ambitious development yet for The Masonic Villages Trust and its operating companies. In all three villages – in Woburn, Levin and Masterton – it is actively building and upgrading its retirement offerings. Its largest previous development was the Glenwood Masonic Hospital, a state of the art facility built in Masterton in 2010.

The Trust is a charity set up by Freemasons in the southern North Island for the benefit of the wider community. “Being a charity, any profits we make go back into providing services. While we obviously have to be prudent with our finances, the needs of our residents are our primary motivation, not maximising profits,” Mr Dunn says.

The Trust recently announced it is providing management and accounting services to the Manawatu Masonic Association Trust, owner of Masonic Court in Palmerston North and Te Awahou retirement village in Foxton. The two trusts will be exploring the potential for working closely together in the future.

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