Balmain Leagues Club site on the market worth more than $70m
November 5, 2014 - 8:17AM
For sale: Balmain Leagues Club. Photo: Danielle Smith
The Balmain Leagues Club, former home of the Wests Tigers, will enter the next phase of its colourful life, after the owner has put the freehold property up for sale, worth more than $70 million.
It is expected any buyer would seek to redevelop the site into mixed use, with apartments and retail space underneath.
The sales agents, Michael Andrews and Scott Gray Spencer of CBRE, said a heads of agreement was in place that would allow the West Tigers club to return to its spiritual home.
The West Tigers club could return to its spiritual home. Photo: Brendan Esposito.
“With the Sydney apartment market experiencing an under supply of new dwellings, this property, by virtue of its location, creates a core opportunity to deliver on these demands,” the agents said.
The vendor, Rozelle Village’s sole director Ian Wright, said the company was now focused on other developments outside Australia.
“Also…we have a strong affiliation with the Tigers and feel that the time is right for a fresh approach to the land’s development,” Mr Wright said.
The site had “continuously” attracted interest from prospective buyers, he said, “so we’re expecting a strong response to the expressions of interest”.
Rozelle Village, originally half-owned by former Tigers’ hooker Ben Elias, bought the financially embattled club’s headquarters for $1 in 2009 in return for taking over its debts of $23.5 million.
The company’s most recent high-rise plans, which included residential towers at 24 and 20 storeys plus a new home for the club, were knocked back by planning authorities in April.
Leichhardt mayor Rochelle Porteous said council, which was working on new planning controls for the site, would welcome working collaboratively with a new owner.
“It’s important that any potential purchaser for the Rozelle site is made aware of the history of the site and is made aware of the fact that the current site-specific [Local Environment Plan] on the site does not work,” Cr Porteous said.
A sale would not cut all ties between Rozelle Village and the club, which will still owe the company about $11 million.
Issues surrounding the debt came to a head in March this year when club sought an injunction to stop any bid to place it into receivership.
According the terms of settlement in that dispute, which were signed in August, the club’s right to lease premises at the site may be terminated if development consent is not granted by a “sunset date” of November 29, next year.
The new deed also requires the club to support the site’s owner in negotiations and lobbying of council, the state government and community in relation to any future development application, which may include a smaller club premises than that set out in the original agreement.
The club’s spokesman, Danny Munk, said that the club was aware of discussions about the sale. “That’s the only comment I can make,” he said.
The expression of interest campaign closes in December.