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Ryman buys central Auckland Subritzky estate

Listed retirement villager operator Ryman Heathcare [NZX:RYM] has bought an 8.9ha estate in Lynfield, central Auckland, formerly the home base of elderly healing evangelist, lawyer and property developer Bill Subritzky.

The property, known as Tropicana, had an estimated market value of $16.2 million when it was listed last October. The sale price is unknown.

The property, in several titles, is zoned a mix of Residential 5 and 6A (medium intensity)  and looks out over the Manukau Harbour. Ryman says it is planning a $120 million project for the site, which is very close to a large independent retirement village (Hillsborough Heights) and a large and expanding BUPA resthome/hospital facility as well as a number of other resthomes and villages  slightly further away .

The property was developed by Mr Subritzsky and his first wife, Pat, 57 years ago and features several homes, a pool, tennis court, sheds and a separate office wing from where Mr Subritzky ran his businesses.

Mr Subritzky was a lawyer and property developer whose company Universal Homes, mass-produced homes in standard designs. It sold 14,000 over his 30-year ownership.

Auckland grew enormously during the 1960s and 1970s with the opening up of large urban subdivisions across the isthmus. Universal Homes expanded to become New Zealand’s second largest home builder.

Mr Subritzky later sold the company to Chase Corporation and these days it is owned by Singaporean interests.

Eighty-eight year old Mr Subritzky eventually became better known as an evangelist and healer. His faith healing ministry, Dove Ministries, distributes pamphlets, books, and DVDs of his teaching and his evangelistic healing meetings.

In 1986, Mr Subritzky and other conservative Christians helped establish the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, a right-wing Christian pressure group formed to oppose the socially-liberal policies of the fourth Labour government.

Following the death of Pat in 2011, Mr Subritsky married Kaylene last year. Mr Subrtizkey has also written 14 books.

Ryman has started planning and is yet to lodge a resource consent application, but aimed for the village to be opened by mid to late 2016. 

In May, it entered into a 150-year lease with Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua Orakei to develop a new 300-resident development on 4.2 hectares of former navy land valued at $6.8 million on Auckland's North Shore for an undisclosed sum. This month, it acquired a 6000sq m site in the Wellington suburb Newtown from supermarket operator Foodstuffs for an undisclosed sum, to develop its sixth village in the area.

Ryman owns and operates 27 retirement villages housing 7500 residents. Like other retirement village developers and operators, Ryman is looking to latch on to an ageing demographic, and has increased its annual building target to 850 beds and units a year in New Zealand by 2017, from a rate of 700 a year.

The shares fell 0.6 percent to $8.36, and have gained 7.1 percent this year. The stock is rated an average 'hold' based on six analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $8.25.

(With reporting from BusinessDesk)