McAleer & Rushe lands £76m later-living scheme

McAleer & Rushe has secured a £76m deal to build an integrated retirement community in Kent.

The Northern Irish contractor will deliver 167 later-living apartments in Royal Tunbridge Wells for the Retirement Villages Group (RVG).

Sited on a former cinema plot in the town, the scheme will see one and two-bedroom flats arranged above shops around a central courtyard, and feature landscaped terraces.

Later living represents a new workstream for the contractor, with director Shane McCullagh describing the move as a “natural evolution”.

He added: “With decades of experience in both hotel and residential projects, including build-to-rent, co-living and affordable housing, we are well positioned with an enviable skillset and proven track record to enhance buildability for our industry partners.

“We see the later-living sector increasing in the market to meet the needs of today’s society for modern retirement housing that centres on community and social connection. We look forward to working closely with RVG to bring its vision to life.”

RVG chief executive Will Bax said he was pleased to unlock a brownfield site that has been derelict for more than two decades.

“We intend to challenge the stereotypes of vulnerability, loneliness and dependency and replace them with a new narrative,” he said.

“Modern retirement living needs to reflect the attitudes of a new generation of elders, who want to live with purpose and embrace the opportunities of connected and sociable living, creating their own active, urban community in an existing town setting.”

The contractor said the scheme would reflect the architecture of both the art deco cinema that formerly occupied the site and the mid-century town hall opposite.

The development has a target of being net-zero carbon across both its development and operational lifespan.

Construction work is set to begin this month.

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