South Australian property development and investment company Axiom Properties has agreed to buy part of Richmond Club’s land to build a hotel.
Under the terms of the conditional agreement signed on Thursday, July 6, Axiom will buy the 2212-square-metre site, which includes the bowling green and gym, and build the hotel. It will also select which company operates the hotel.
Axiom said it is in final negotiations with a hotel development group. Design works and the planning approval process are scheduled to begin in early August.
The development is predicted to create more than 100 jobs during construction and 50 hotel jobs once completed.
The club’s Group CEO Kimberley Talbot said the deal took 10 months of negotiations, but was 20 years in the making.
“It is fitting that in our 70th year we are able to announce this amazing development for the club members and the wider community,’ Ms Talbot said. “The project will provide state of the art accommodation to the Hawkesbury, and will be a major boost to the growing tourism sector in western Sydney. We are proud to be associated with Axiom to bring the hotel to fruition.”
Ms Talbot said she would have preferred a ground lease rather than a sale, and it was a difficult decision to make for the directors, but it would enable the club to avoid debt for the first stage of the development.
The sale will also allow other projects to start, such as a $2.8m fitout of the club function rooms and a $10m extension of Hawkesbury Living.
“I would like to congratulate the board of directors for their hard work to reach this stage of the development,” Ms Talbot said. “A number have been involved in the hotel plans for over 15 years, and in particular our chairman, Mr Geoff Luscombe, has been an integral part of the planning for 18 years.”
When the Gazette initially broke the story of the club’s hotel intentions in November last year, a strong concern for some club members was the future of the bowling crowd and the gym crowd, which would be displaced by the hotel.
Ms Talbot said on Wednesday the board was still looking at a number of options for the bowlers. “They are our foundation members, albeit that many clubs in the industry are steering away from ‘anything green’,” she said.
“It is no secret that without these spaces our business would be more liquid, however social inclusion and getting people out and active is at the heart of what we do, and both our ‘green spaces’ (the bowling greens and golf club) achieve this.”
Regarding the gym, she said she had a meeting with the gym staff on Wednesday. “I clearly explained to them that we have a number of options on the table for the gym. It is still certainly part of our overall operations and we will continue to provide this service to our members.
“However, with 14 other competing gyms in the Hawkesbury it is a flooded market. This has not stopped us investigating all possible options to reposition the gym on the club site or possibly relocate to a close location off site.”