The growing link between care and retirement villages - and the ongoing move towards vertical over 50s living - has been reinforced by the release of new plans for a $125m high-rise “wellbeing precinct” in inner-Melbourne.

Leading not-for-profit provider Australian Unity has teamed up with private wealth management group Ord Minnett to launch plans for a 15-storey tower at its former head office opposite Albert Park Lake.

The tower, which is yet to be named, will sit alongside Australian Unity’s existing 18-storey retirement village The Grace, which opened in 2019 and contains 79 independent living retirement village apartments. 

The new tower will include 84 residential aged-care places, 71 assisted living apartments, rooftop private dining and a wellness centre.

Australian Unity's new tower will overlook stunning Albert Park Lake

Ryan Banting, General Manager of Social Infrastructure at Australian Unity, said the demographic drivers for high-quality seniors accommodation, including assisted living apartments and specialist aged care, are clear.

This precinct will enable people to access a continuum of home and health care options to meet their changing needs,” Mr Banting said.

"Despite the ongoing social and economic uncertainty stemming from the pandemic, coupled with regulatory change that will likely flow from the Aged Care Royal Commission’s recommendations, there is a growing understanding that we need to find new ways to invest in high quality accommodation and services for those in our community aged 80 and over.”

Mr Banting said while COVID-19 has increased demand for services delivered in the homes of older Australians, high-quality seniors accommodation remains a more attractive and affordable option for residents who are seeking companionship, round-the-clock care and peace of mind.

Construction is due to begin later this month, and the development of the seniors community is scheduled for completion in late calendar 2022.

Australian Unity's new care tower (white tower to the right) will sit alongside  existing The Grace retirement village (tower to the left) 
Australian Unity's new care tower (white tower in centre right of photo) will sit alongside 
existing The Grace retirement village (tower at centre left) 

The proposed new tower is also in line with the shift towards ‘vertical’ retirement communities.

According to the 2020 Retirement Living Census, some 33 per cent (or a third) of all villages under development are vertical in nature, compared to just 13 per cent of new villages in development in 2018. 

It is likely that, within the next two years, the majority of new retirement villages across Australia will be vertical. 

Downsizing.com.au has Australia’s best range of retirement and downsizing-friendly property - start your search here