New Zealand's largest retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare has bought Victoria University of Wellington's former Karori campus, which has surprised and upset some Wellington City councillors.
Ryman announced on Tuesday it purchased the campus for an undisclosed sum to convert it into a retirement village.
WCC Onslow-Western ward councillors Diane Calvert, Andy Foster and Simon Woolf released a joint statement, saying they were surprised the Ministry of Education pulled out "at a late stage" from developing a educational technology hub, as had been agreed with the council.
"While we had hoped and strongly advocated for part if not all of the site to be retained for public use, we still want to ensure that the community's needs are met as best as possible," the councillors' statement says.
"We are keen to establish a good relationship with Ryman Healthcare and work collaboratively with them on addressing community needs from both an existing and potential use perspective."
The councillors hoped that recreation courts for public use could still be developed at the Karori campus.
Ryman have said the purchase price was confidential and did not provide details on when the development was expected to start.
It would be the fifth Ryman-owned retirement village in the Wellington region.
The Karori campus was developed to cope with the large numbers of baby boomers in tertiary education in the 1960s and Victoria University became the owner of the assets of the College of Education through a merger in 2004.
Victoria has said the site was too isolated and disconnected from its main hub in the central city, and was declared surplus to requirements in August last year.
The sale has been contentious with local community groups who use the facilities, and media reports have highlighted the campus was transferred to the university in 2014 for $10 million but could now be worth $20m.