After we sold the Hampshire Hotel and the Airport Lodge, we had a brief stint of renovating properties in Queensland. We acquired a 32 perch block with an old weatherboard house, and subdivided the land into two 16 perch blocks. Then we moved the existing house to one block and renovated the house and sold it. This left us with a spare block of land to develop.

In 1994 Income Tax concessions had been made to bring forward capital costs in building Retirement Villages. As a results many high net worth investors were induced to form syndicates to buy properties with a view to developing retirement homes. These concessions were going to be withdrawn in 2002, which meant that there was an urgency to commence the projects, or sell out. These projects were develop under Sepp 5A and had a greater site density than would otherwise been given.

We were approached by developer who had picked up a project and required mezzanine finance until they could get a new investment syndicate to fund the development. This led us to consider the viability of investing in the retirement sector.

In September 2004 we completed construction of the first 24 assisted care apartments at Lavington Lodge. The facility had all the infrastructure operational and support service amenities including Kitchen, Dining, Laundry and Activities and Lounge rooms, available for resident in a state of the art Class 9c compliant building. Residents are provided with all meals, laundry and other services such as pharmaceutical care. The apartments could accommodate a married couple or siblings, meaning that the maximum occupancy was 48 people.

Later that year Albury Council granted a Development Consent Approval for the construction of 32 additional units on the site. When we sold the facility to Southern Cross Care, they could readily see the benefits of transferring bed licenses to this nursing home, and extending the facility.

We had run accommodations and food and entertainment with hotels and in this respect managing the staff and operations were not very different. What presented a challenge was the complexity of the legislation around the Retirement Village Act, the Aged Care Act and the various regulatory regimes we operated under.

Marketing these apartments meant keeping constant community awareness, and liaising with the Aged Care Community in a wide geographical area. Many of our clients came from distant towns and farms in both New South Wales and Victoria to Albury for medical services.