Vertical CBD Living for Ageing Australians

4 Minute Read

© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions

The Central Business District may become the Central Mixed-Use District, with older Australians taking up residence in former office towers.

It makes sense when we combine the surveying of older Australians[1] and the Post-COVID CBD-revitalisation statements from State Treasury Departments[2] and urban planners[3].

While most Australians wish to “age in place” in the family home, some are considering selling up to move into a smaller, lower-maintenance residence located near “people traffic” to ward off loneliness, with the sale freeing up some funds in the process[4]***.


What does this smaller residence look like?

Well, the preference is for a vibrant, stimulating environment with a mix of age groups. An inter-generational setting is preferred over being surrounded by people in the same age group at an estate on a city’s outskirts.

Let’s consider these desires with the current CBD situation.

Taking the Sydney CBD as our example, office space occupancy since COVID-19 stands at 50%, a figure likely to drop further as a result of the current extended lockdown.

Occupancy rates are unlikely to return to pre-COVID levels of 90%, says the NSW Chief Economist, Stephen Walters. He is promoting more residential living like that seen in New York, London and Hong Kong.

What could be a more vibrant and multi-generational setting for older Australians than a CBD with Botanical Gardens, State art galleries and museums, cafes on every street corner, and cinemas a short stroll away?


Furthering this logic, let me introduce the architectural phrase – “the adaptive reuse model”[5]. An example is the conversion of the old Department of Social Services offices in Canberra into a retirement living complex. Three buildings, three stories in height, with an existing auditorium and courtyards have been stylishly adapted and re-used to create a 380 apartment complex for retirement living.

The development, Greenway Views Seniors' Living[6], has won multiple property development and urban awards[7].

In Melbourne, Australian Unity earlier this year announced[8] its plans to adapt and reuse its former headquarters, a 15-storey office tower, three kilometres south of the CBD, into an aged care facility to complement its adjoining retirement living complex, The Grace.

Vertical CBD living for older Australians may become more commonplace. Watch this space!

When to comes to future care planning, please feel free to contact me, Danielle Robertson at DR Care Solutions, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for you or your loved one, at the right time and in the right place.

- Contact Danielle - For An Impartial & Confidential Conversation


[1]  DR Care Solutions: Royal Commission Study - Australian Views on Ageing
[2]  Sydney Morning Herald: Vacant CBD Offices Could Be Used for Housing
[3]  Urban Taskforce Australia: NSW Treasury's Chief Economist Calls for Changes in CBD Planning
[4]  Royal Commission: Community Attitudes To Ageing & Aged Care
[5]  Commo: Commercial Office Buildings Ripe for More Adaptive Reuse Aged Care After COVID-19
[6]  Greenway Views Seniors' Living
[7]  Gray Puksand: Greenway Views Seniors' Living Village
[8]  Australian Unity: Realise Vision for Seniors Community Opposite Albert Park Lake


Danielle Robertson

Danielle Robertson

Working with you and your support network to get the right care outcomes for you and your loved ones. Danielle Robertson is founder and CEO of DR Care Solutions, offering aged care and disability care concierge services and expertise on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for your loved one, at the right time and in the right place. Danielle's experience in the Australian care sector spans over three and a half decades. Now that's a lot of experience, wisdom and networks!