When Adelaide business partners, Ian Tregoning and Graham Hobbs, purchased the aging former Julia Farr Centre’s West Block in 2011, they had a vision to replace it with ‘Adelaide’s finest retirement living’. That goal was achieved when Living Choice Fullarton opened in December 2014, followed by three prestigious awards, including “Best SA Development” in 2016.
Now, Mr Tregoning and Mr Hobbs, in partnership with Opal HealthCare, are poised to turn the remaining Julia Farr Centre land, known as Highgate Park, into a high-end residential, retirement and aged care precinct, following their successful tender for the prized 2.8-hectare block. The land includes an 11-level building which was home to people living with complex disabilities until 2020.
Originally established as a charitable Trust by philanthropist Julia Farr in 1879, Highgate Park was offered for sale through Renewal SA, on behalf of the Trust, and followed extensive consultation with 360 disability groups, stakeholders and the local community.
Mr Tregoning and Mr Hobbs are well-placed to deliver a development that complements the well-established Living Choice Fullarton village, which has earned a reputation as a vibrant social, cultural, dining and wellness hub with strong links to the local community.
Since teaming up in 1993, Mr Tregoning and Mr Hobbs now have 10 operating Living Choice retirement villages with a further three under construction, residential communities in QLD and they recently announced plans for Over 50s Lifestyle Resorts in Mount Barker and Murray Bridge. Through their companies EDP Hotels and Hotel & Club Specialists, they own and operate numerous hotels and clubs in SA and QLD. Their latest hotel, The Bridgeport in Murray Bridge, was named ‘Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional’ in 2022.
Opal HealthCare is one of Australia’s leading private aged care providers. Specialists in residential aged care, Opal HealthCare has over 12,000 team members caring for 9,000 residents. It owns and operates 100 care communities in five states, including five in Adelaide in the suburbs of Joslin, Everard Park, Glen Osmond, Old Reynella and Aldinga Beach.
Mr Tregoning said he was delighted to be given the opportunity to enhance the Highgate Park property with a well-balanced, high-quality, multi-generational and sustainability focused development that would meet the standards of the local community.
“Our vision for Highgate Park seamlessly integrates Living Choice Fullarton in a precinct which is sympathetic architecturally to the existing built form and surrounding community. We believe our design parameters will embrace the expectations of our existing residents and the local community.
“Our offer was specifically crafted to facilitate a smooth planning approval process rather than simply maximise the floor space ratio. Our Masterplan includes further retirement apartments, an Aged Care Community in conjunction with Opal HealthCare, residential townhouses and a ‘central park’ with a large green space for public interaction and use. This public interaction mirrors the success of the multi-generational public interaction in the communal areas at Living Choice Fullarton,” he said.
To acknowledge the significance and history of the site, a sculpture and descriptive plaque, crafted by a local artisan, will be erected at the central green.
“We have a deep and full understanding of the direct and personal connection that many South Australians have with Highgate Park. We will collaborate with the Working Group to integrate this lifetime art piece into the overall development, to create a respectful and fitting artwork to align with the community’s vision,” he added.