Retirement village operator Summerset Group has announced a $200 million plan to expand into Christchurch, where major competitor Ryman Healthcare is based.

The Wellington-based provider has bought a 9.7 hectare site in Casebrook and a 5.4 hectare site in Wigram to develop new villages, both comprising more than 200 retirement units.

Incoming chief executive Julian Cook describes Christchurch as “a visible gap” in Summerset’s portfolio and says they have received “lots of interest from Christchurch residents”.

Ryman currently dominates the retirement village market in Christchurch, with six villages currently located around the city. However, when asked about the threat of Summerset’s entry into Christchurch, Ryman managing director Simon Challies told The Press there were “plenty of opportunities” for retirement operators in Christchurch.

The two Christchurch sites add to Summerset’s existing development land in Ellerslie, Hobsonville, Lower Hutt and New Plymouth and its 17 New Zealand villages.

Work on the two new villages will start in the first half of this year.

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