After 30 years creating bespoke residential communities, Sandy Foster — the developer, operator and owner of The Grove — knows exactly what people want in a boutique, independently-owned retirement village.
“What I’ve repeatedly found,” says Sandy, “Is that people are looking for a ‘home’ — not just a house. They want to know that they’re becoming part of a caring and respectful community… and that care and respect includes the way the village operator behaves.”
It’s a philosophy that has carried through the many retirement village developments Sandy has been involved with: Waitakere Gardens in West Auckland, Dannemora Gardens in the east; Forest Lake Gardens in Hamilton; Kerikeri Gardens in the Bay of Islands; Papamoa Beach Gardens in the Bay of Plenty; and the recently completed Whitby Lakes Retirement Village north of Wellington. That’s well over 1,000 individual homes, with The Grove Orewa adding another 69 homes to the total.
With every development, Sandy takes a very straightforward approach. “I always have a simple litmus test — how would I feel if l lived in the village?”
And it’s a test that’s well supported by the research. “We constantly score ‘satisfied’ and ‘very satisfied’ with the residents,” he says, “Often they’ll tell me that they wish they had moved in years ago.”
It’s not uncommon for these types of communities to enrich the lives of residents in ways they never contemplated. “They find themselves building new lasting friendships, and getting involved in new activities and pastimes… they can often find themselves a lot happier than when they were living in their lonely former family home. We find residents can be surprised they’ve discovered a wonderful new lifestyle so late in life.”
“Prospective residents contemplate moving in to a retirement village for a variety of reasons — to release equity from their family home; to escape housing maintenance; to have the freedom of lock—up—and—leave; to enjoy the latest
mod cons in a unit that befits their needs; to feel safer; to have care on hand; and so our surveys show that the new friendships and lifestyle residents have incidentally gained are often the most fondly viewed attractions of the village.”
He is determined that The Grove will be no different.
“The Grove is as highly specced as any village you’ll find on the Hibiscus Coast,” says Sandy, “so we know we’re addressing the functional needs aspiring residents are wanting. Our plan is to also deliver a community and a lifestyle that becomes among the most desirable on the Coast.”