Aura Wins Approval for Gold Coast Retirement Tower

Prolific Queensland developer Tim Russell has won approval for a 32-storey vertical retirement village on the Gold Coast—his seventh project for mature downsizers in the state’s south-east.

Gold Coast City Council has given the go-ahead for Russell’s Aura Holdings to develop a 94-apartment tower on the Nerang River in the Budds Beach neighbourhood.

Russell said they were in final negotiations with a builder for the $35-million project and expected to start construction “within months”.

“You think you’ve got something that’ll meet the market and be appropriate for the area, but they’re not without risks,” Russell told The Urban Developer.

“So when you do get one through, it’s always a good feeling.”

Aura Holdings—co-founded in 2016 by Russell and Mark Taylor—acquired the four properties that make up the 2130sq m Acacia Avenue site for about $8.2 million about 12 months ago.

The 120m-high building will add to a skyline that includes the JW Marriott and Sovereign hotels, as well as the Paradise Resort.

32-storey vertical retirement village on the Gold Coast
▲ The 94-apartment tower will rise above the Nerang River.

That land acquisition came with prior approval for a 211-apartment residential tower, which at 46 storeys and the tallest in the neighbourhood, had proved controversial.

Aura’s approval is for “a material change in use” application, in this case for a retirement facility. The developer has completed three such facilities in the state and has another three in various stages of construction.

Russell has long been an active proponent for more to be done to address the country’s shortage of retirement living options.

And in approving the application, Gold Coast Council seemed to agree with him.

“The addition of 94 units within this development will contribute to the Gold Coast housing supply. Officers note that the proposed development will provide a different type of residential living, permitting residents to age in place,” one council officer wrote.

Retirement Tower Gold Coast
▲ It’s Aura Holdings’ seventh project in south-east Queensland aimed at retirees.

“We just feel the south-east Queensland market is grossly undersupplied for quality product in the right location,” Russell said. “And we think it will continue to attract demand, particularly when you factor in the lack of supply.

“We’re generally selling to people in their 70s and we’re finding a lot of them are in their own family homes in mature suburbs, but to downsize and stay in the area, there’s not really a lot of choice.”

The tower has been designed by Brisbane-based O’Neill Architecture, and will count 19 one-bedroom, 38 two-bedroom and another 19 three-bedroom apartments. There will be 18 sub-penthouses, also with three bedrooms.

A two-level podium has a pool and barbecue area, and there’s basement parking for 131 cars. About 2720sq m is given over to communal space.

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