Pathways Leura Village

Development Application for the rejuvenation of the Ritz Estate into a 137 bed residential care facility and wellness centre.



This project involves a $37million rejuvenation of the Ritz Estate into a luxurious aged care environment that will deliver 137 aged care beds for residents requiring supported daily care. The development also incorporates a wellness centre and café. Architectural perspectives of the facility are presented in Figures 1-3.

All residential aged care will be contained in the main Ritz building and the new southern (South A and B) and western (West A and B) wings. The wellness centre, incorporating a gym, hairdresser and allied health services, is located in the Managers Residence and connected to the aged care wings via an underground pedestrian pathway that will provide weather-protected access.

New buildings sit above a basement level that contains 46 car parking spaces for staff and visitors, a loading dock and the back of house service areas, including the laundry and kitchen. It is also the primary resident drop off and arrival area. Vehicular access to the basement will be via a dual ingress/egress driveway off Wascoe Street.

The current driveway off Leura Mall will be paved and a fountain feature incorporated at the entrance to the Ritz building. It will become the main pedestrian entrance.

An onsite cafe is provided at ground floor level in the main Ritz building so residents and their visitors can enjoy the garden outlook. While many residents will visit Leura Village, there are residents who have restricted mobility due to physical or cognitive limitations, and the café provides an opportunity to enjoy social interaction.

Project details

203-233 Leura Mall
Local Government Area
Blue Mountains City Council
Project Type
Residential Aged Care
Development Application on public exhibition 21st September – 18th October 2021
Pathways Residences

This project listing has been created to demonstrate the UrbanTalk project listing capability

Architectural Stills

Internal view looking at the main Ritz building with new west wing.

Source: PBD Architects

View from Leura Mall looking at the main Ritz building with new south wing.

Source: PBD Architects

View of main entrance from Leura Mall.

Source: PBD Architects

What Is A Residential Aged Care Facility?

A residential aged care facility (RACF) provides care within a supported accommodation setting for older people whose care needs can no longer be met within their own homes. The average age of a Pathways resident is 88 years and residents are not able to own a car.

Residential Aged Care Considerations

Pathways Residences care model encompasses the findings arising from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. It provides for:

  • A mix of nursing home style accommodation, a dedicated area for residents who are living with the symptoms of dementia and an area set aside for short stay respite care.
  • Compliance with the accessibility standards for Class 9C residential aged care buildings with level and unobstructed access provided for wheelchairs and walkers throughout internal and external spaces.
  • A design that fosters a home-like feeling. This is achieved using the ‘small home model’ which adopts an internal floor layout that groups 6-10 resident bedrooms around a central living and dining area.
  • Well-designed outdoor spaces provide visual interest and accessible spaces where residents can wander safely, enjoying the sights and smells of the garden with areas of seating so they can sit and enjoy fresh air and sunlight.
  • The integration of social, wellness and allied health services including an onsite café, beauty and hairdressing, physiotherapists, podiatrists, speech and occupational health services and rooms for visiting doctors and specialists.

Meeting The Demand For Aged Care

Blue Mountains City Council Ageing Strategy 2017-2027 states the Blue Mountains LGA is older and ageing faster than the NSW average. The established and historic villages of Leura, Wentworth Falls and Blackheath currently have high proportions of people aged 65 and over and will continue to be locations with the highest proportion of older people through to 2036. The area is also ranked third in metropolitan Sydney for the percentage of the population older than 65 years (being 18.1%).

Project Status

Site Analysis




Development Application


Development Application (Public Exhibition)
Under assessment
Not yet started
Not yet completed

Site Description

The site of Pathways Leura Village is the Ritz Estate, located at 203-223 Leura Mall. It is legally described as Lot 20 in DP 1076123 and measures 11,300 square metres or 1.13 hectares in area.

Leura Mall aligns its eastern boundary, Megalong Street its northern boundary, and Wascoe Street its western boundary. Its southern boundary is adjoined by private residences.

Key features of the site and its locational context are described below:

  • The Ritz and its interiors are listed as a heritage item (No. LA012) of local significance under the Blue Mountains Local Environmental Plan 2015. It is also in the vicinity of other heritage items and heritage conservation areas
  • The site is elevated to the surrounding streets and significant embankments present to both Megalong and Wascoe Streets.
  • Gardens and landscaped areas occupy over 50% and provide an estate-like character.
  • Leura Village is located immediately to the north and north east of the site. There are low-density residential dwellings to the south, west and east.
  • Leura Railway Station is located 300m to the north of the site with the A32 Great Western Highway 400m to the north.
  • The site is located within the Southern Tourist Precinct which supports a mix of land uses including arts and craft galleries, cafes and tourist accommodation. Leura is renowned for its spring and autumn garden displays The Ritz Estate contributes to the architectural and landscape appeal of the tourist precinct.

Existing buildings and site improvements comprise:

  • The former Ritz Hotel, a late Victorian building that had a south and west wing added in 1914.
  • The former Manager’s Residence to the north of the Ritz at the Megalong Street frontage.
  • A single-storey, weatherboard cottage to the south of the Ritz.
  • A chimney stack no longer attached to the original boiler house.
  • A single-storey laundry complex, various outbuildings, sheds and covered walkways.

The Design

Design Response

To understand the design response please watch the UrbanTalk explainer video.

The Design Team

Architecture: PBD Architects
Heritage and Conservation: John Oultram Heritage and Design
Planning: Gyde Consulting (formerly CityPlan Strategy and Development)
Landscape Architecture: Svalbe & Co and Brendan Moar

Statistics At A Glance

Site Area11,300 sqm (1.13 hectares)
Total number of beds/rooms8,103.3sqm
Total Gross Floor Area (GFA)137
Total Floor Space Ratio (FSR)0.7:1
Landscape Area
Deep Soil
5,709 (50.5% of site area)
4,888 (43.2% of site area)
Maximum Height at ridgeline of the Ritz building13.3 metres
• Eastern (Leura Mall)
• Northern (Megalong Street)
• Western (Wascoe Street)
• Southern

6 – 13 metres
13 – 33 metres
11 metres
2 – 8.5 metres
Total Parking46 1 loading bay/ambulance
Total Staff Employed49
Hours of Operation24 hours a day 7 days a week
Source: Gyde Consulting SEE 2021

Planning Considerations


The proposed development is defined as a ‘Residential Care Facility’ under the Blue Mountains LEP 2015 and is permitted with consent in the R1 General Residential Zone that applies to the site.

Heritage Conservation

The Ritz and its interiors are listed as a heritage item (No. LA012) of local significance under the Blue Mountains LEP 2015. The development application is accompanied by a Conservation Management Plan (CMP), Cultural Landscape Plan (CLP) and Heritage Impact Statement (HIS) that conclude additional development can occur on the site without impacting its cultural and heritage significance.

The Conservation Management Plan (CMP) that established the guiding conservation principles. These principles are explained below:

  • The east and north heritage gardens and the former croquet lawn, which account for over 50% of the site area, are retained and rejuvenated with new path layouts, garden structure and plantings. The heritage embankments to the north and west facing Megalong Street and Wascoe Street are retained. Figure 4 illustrates the Landscape Plan.
  • The original Ritz Hotel Building which is of high significance is retained. The south and west wings that were added in 1914 need to be rebuilt to achieve compliance with mandatory Building Code of Australia and fire safety requirements for aged care buildings. The wings will be reinstated in their original architectural style to complement the original hotel building.
  • The Managers Residence which is of ‘exceptional significance’ will be restored and adaptively reused as the wellness centre.
  • Modern extensions and outbuildings including the laundry, sheds and covered walkways to the south and west of the Ritz building have minimal or no heritage value and will be removed to create areas for new aged care.
  • The freestanding cottage at the Leura Mall frontage and the adjacent freestanding Boiler House Chimney will be demolished to enable this part of the site to accommodate a new aged care wing.
  • New buildings on the site will not exceed the height of the eaves of the original Ritz building.

Height and Scale

The development application is accompanied by two Clause 4.6 Variation Requests seeking amendments to the 0.4:1 floor space ratio and 8 metre height controls that apply to the site. Pathways Residences believes a variation to the controls can be supported for the following reasons:

  • The design response is supported on heritage grounds.
  • Over 50% of the site area is retained as soft landscaped area.
  • No new building or additions are higher than the eaves of the existing Ritz building.
  • The design response ensures all new buildings present as two storeys above ground level.
  • Pathways care delivery model groups 6-10 resident rooms around their own dining and living room. This internal layout means more floor space is required than was historically provided with institutional style care.
  • Generous landscaped setbacks are provided at each frontage that preserve both the privacy of neighbours and enable perimeter trees and landscaping to be enhanced.
  • Solar access and overshadowing investigations confirm the additional floor space and height will not have a detrimental effect on the solar access that is available to our neighbours.

Tree Removal and Koala Habitat Management

Removing 77 of the 171 trees on the site is proposed and this will be in accordance with the arborist’s report and the landscape study. This will include 14 of 22 Monterey Pines that are located at the Leura Mall and Wascoe Street frontages that have been identified as having a life expectancy of 5-15 years. None of the trees proposed for removal across the site are Koala use tree species identified for the Central and Southern Tablelands Koala Management Area in Schedule 2 of the Koala Habitat Protection SEPP.

Traffic and Parking

The development provides 46 car parking spaces within a single basement level as well as 1 loading bay that can accommodate an ambulance. The number of parking spaces exceeds the requirements of Blue Mountains City Council which require 38 spaces and 1 loading dock. The development will also provide 4 bicycle parking spaces.

The basement car park is accessed from Wascoe Street. A single driveway provides dual ingress and egress and will be approximately 6 metres in width. All loading and unloading of delivery service vehicles will occur from within the basement. The car park will be secured with a recessed security door.

Construction Updates

Now that construction is underway for this project, we will be bringing you updates throughout the construction in the form of monthly podcasts.

March 2022

Q & A Webinars

Invitation only briefing events are being held for:

  • Immediate neighbours
  • The Mayor and Ward 1 Councillors of Blue Mountains City Council
  • Leura Village Association
  • Heritage Interest Groups

We would like your feedback

The Pathways Leura listing has been created as a sample listing page and the feedback function is not active for this project.