Queenstown Lakes District Council independent commissioner Wendy Baker granted non-notified consent in December for the $200million investment by Metlifecare, which operates 32 villages and care homes in the North Island and three in the South Island.
Metlifecare Wānaka will build a facility catering for up to 150 residents, comprising 93 independent villas and a 30-suite aged care home, on a 5.4ha site between the Wānaka Golf Course and the New World Supermarket.
Metlifecare senior development manager Michelle van Kampen said getting the green light was a significant step towards construction.
"We are thrilled to be able to offer the choice of Metlifecare’s premium retirement living to this thriving and rapidly growing community ... This milestone marks the beginning of an exciting journey, so we’re eager to start progressing with the detailed design phase.
"Our vision is to create a unique village that offers the perfect balance of tranquillity, community and outdoor splendour," Ms van Kampen said.
Earthworks for the first 30 two and three-bedroom villas were due to start later this year and the first residents would be welcomed on site in 2026.
Stage two — including the main amenities building and care home — would be completed in 2027, she said.
High-end architectural and landscape designers would be engaged to create buildings and outdoor spaces. There would be expansive views to Mount Iron, the northeast and Cardrona Valley, she said.
Premium facilities included a cafe and dining areas, social spaces, a library and a health and wellness area with a heated indoor swimming pool, spa and gym facilities.
Metlifecare bought the site from developer Willowridge in April 2022.
The company has a five-year growth strategy of expanding its geographical footprint across the country and increasing its volume of aged residential care offerings.
Since 2022, Metlifecare has bought two premium retirement villages in Christchurch (Merivale Village and The Village Palms), and the Springlands Lifestyle Village in Blenheim.
These villages also have existing onsite care homes.