Developers Seek to Transform Retirement Community in Manly into Modern Oasis

A retirement community in Manly could soon enter a new era of modern luxury and amenities if an extensive masterplan for upgrades and expansions is approved.

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Designed by O’Neil Architecture, the proposal at 162 Oceana Terrace in Manly would replace seven outdated independent living units across two new buildings, numbered 5 and 6, adding 87 contemporary residences.

This transformation would build upon previously approved plans for 100 high-quality units in four buildings at the southern end of the sprawling grounds. Those approved plans call for two four-story and two six-story buildings, connected by a porte cochere entrance and anchored by over 1,500 square meters of communal facilities. The first stage would focus on the six-story buildings paired with shared amenities.

Photo credit: O’Neil Architecture

The proposed community facilities will include a dining hall and café, a cinema, gym, and library for entertainment and activity spaces. Medical suites will provide on-site healthcare services. For social gatherings, plans call for a club, lounge, and bar. Recreational amenities will include a swimming pool and bowling green for residents to enjoy. 

Photo credit: O’Neil Architecture

The new proposal would take the total number of residential units to 287 within a nearly 28,000 sqm development. It would modify the previously approved buildings by lowering their base to the ground level, removing the porte cochere, and relocating community facilities to the new proposed buildings 5 and 6. An internal road with southern drop off would improve access and circulation.

The positioning of new construction on the exterior of the grounds allows Lota House, classified as a Queensland Heritage Place, to remain undisturbed at the heart of the community. Careful heritage assessments could enable approval for necessary demolition and maintenance work on the surrounding non-protected areas, if the plans are greenlit.

Drawing inspiration from Lota House’s architecture, the design incorporates rendered masonry walls, metal cladding, glass balustrades, and color banding that lightens towards the upper floors. This would help blend the modern forms into the landscape and heritage context if approved as envisioned. The end result could be a seamlessly integrated expansion with all the amenities today’s residents expect.

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The multi-phase project would ensure continuous comfortable living for all residents at the retirement community during construction, if given the go-ahead. When complete, the new Lota House could provide premium senior living options and uphold the site’s rich 135-year history.

Published 10-November-2023

Council’s Refusal of Proposed Retirement Facility at Lota House Appealed

The development application for the proposed retirement village at Oceana St in Lota has already been refused by the Brisbane City Council, but developers are already appealing the case in court.

In August 2018, the Village Retirement Group and Anglicare submitted a proposal to develop a retirement facility at 162 Oceana Tce in Lota — the site includes the heritage-listed Lota House.

The initial proposal consisted of four new buildings containing a total of 104 units, integrated within the Lota Court-Manly Anglicare Retirement Community and Edwin Marsden Tooth Memorial Home.

Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council /

The proposed development would have Buildings 1 and 2 on the Oceana frontage at six storeys in height, and Buildings 3 and 4 on the Grace St frontage at seven storeys in height.

The plan was later amended, reducing the height to five and six storeys and removing one unit from the plan to provide an entry area that will connect the porte-cochere to the main lobby.

Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council /

Despite the changes, the Council rejected the development application last 3 April as the council believes that the proposal was not in keeping with the character of the area and that it negatively impacts the 150-year-old heritage-listed Lota House, the existing vegetation, and traffic.

In particular, the Council cited that the “5 and 6 storey retirement facility is not consistent with the 1 and 2 storey low density residential character of the area.”

The decision also said that “the proposed 5 and 6 storey development does not complement the prevailing 1 and 2 storey low density residential scale, built form and streetscape of the surrounding area.”

The refusal comes after the local community actively called for the rejection of the proposal and more than 160 submissions, objecting to the application, were received.

Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council /

The developers, however, appealed the case to the Planning and Environment court on grounds that the council did not provide sufficient basis for the refusal.

“The Development Application ought to be approved because the proposed development complies with all of the assessment benchmarks for the development. Alternatively, the Development Application ought to be approved if the proposed development does not comply with some of the assessment benchmarks.

“Further or in the alternative, the Development Application ought not to be refused as compliance with the assessment benchmarks can be achieved by the imposition of conditions,” the Notice of Appeal said.