Huge milestone reached in $47m Benevolent redevelopment
Come the end of 2023 and Benevolent Living in West Rockhampton will look very different as the $47 million Rhythms of Life redevelopment is set to be completed.
A group of Benevolent Living executives and board members met with Hutchinsons Builders at the site for an official sod turning ceremony of the project on Wednesday.
The multi-stage project will include the construction of a new resident care building with one-bedroom apartments and the complete refurbishment of the reception area and coffee shop.
This is the first stage and is expected to take 12 months.
The second stage includes a five-storey building with 40 independent living apartments and is expected to take 18 months.
“It is going to change the way we deliver aged care and also introduce assisted and independent living apartments,” Benevolent Living CEO Alison Moss said.
Getting to this point was a significant milestone, Ms Moss said.
“It takes a lot of planning and risk management to pull a large project like this together, it wasn’t particularly COVID that was holding us up, that did change the way we had to meet, it really was the board being diligent and making sure we got the best design and we covered all of the basis,” she said.
Hutchinsons Builders associate director Jack Hutchinson said they were proud to be working with Benevolent.
“It’s just wonderful, we have a local presence in Rocky, we’ve had an office here for a long while, we have been in Queensland for 109 years this year,” he said.
Hutchinsons’ project manager Nick Linnan said the construction alone was a $40 million contract which would support 400 full time jobs over the construction period of two and a half years.
The works are distributed between a variety of small contractors that do a lot of specialist work.
The next steps are demolition, getting rid of the carpark, the de-fit of the ground floor and fit out of the ground floor.
Then they will remove the pavement, carry out more demolition and start the footings and in-ground services.
With an experienced background in construction projects, Mr Linnan said this one was challenging in the way the residents were so close.
“They will be looking at us all day every day,” he said.
“We will be making sure it is safe, dust free and minimal disruption for everyone that lives here.”
A man who was more than eager to see the cogs of the project turning before his eyes was Kevin Hogan, the chair of the board of directors for Benevolent Living.
“To say that I am excited to be here today is an understatement,” he said
“It has been a very long journey for the board, we started talking about this development some five to six years ago.
“We have had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of discussions but the whole team has pulled together to make sure this happen.
“I’d like to say a big thank to the management team and the CEO, we worked together as a team to get this project underway.”
The decision for the development came from a gap in the market in Central Queensland.
With the project underway, the board moved to change the facility’s name from Benevolent Aged Care to Benevolent Living, to indicate the shift in the business.
“We knew that there were people leaving Central Queensland, going into retirement and they would leave Rockhampton because there was no facility here to offer them to stay so we decided we would do something to change that,” Mr Hogan said.