“Twelve months down and 12 to go,” said Nick Darias, optimistically.
The Katoomba RSL Club’s CEO was looking back at the last year since the club burnt down and looking ahead to the rebuilding, which should start late this month or early April.
It was a year ago on February 24 that a fire destroyed the club, on the corner of Lurline and Merriwa streets, Katoomba.
And just last week, council approved the development application for a $12 million new building, leaving Mr Darias looking forward to an opening early next year.
“It is expected to take 38 to 44 weeks so we’re hoping to be in by the end of January.”
The new club will feature a cafe bar, sports bar, children’s play area, terraces and a number of lounges, said Mr Darias.
“The big thing for us is we’re going to have an auditorium that can fit 300 people – it’s a lot bigger than we had, with proper acoustics so we will be able to hold bigger shows with lots more people.”
The big thing for us is we’re going to have an auditorium that can fit 300 people.Nick Darias
The new entrance, off the car park, will feature a porte cochere or covered area where people can be dropped off.
The memorial will be moved from its old site fronting Lurline Street to an area in front of the porte cochere. This means Anzac Day ceremonies will be able to be held wholly within the carpark, reducing the time needed to keep Lurline Street closed on the day.
The restaurant will take advantage of large windows looking on to Lurline Street.
The footprint of the new club will also be larger after it bought an adjoining property in Merriwa Street.
Mr Darias said they were just waiting on tender documents to be finalised before a builder is appointed at the end of March with work to start soon after.
While it has seemed a long time without a club for members, Mr Darias said to have a DA approved just 12 months after the fire was pretty quick work. He thanked council which had been “very helpful” in smoothing the process.
Katoomba has been using its sister club, Wentworth Falls Bowling Club, since the fire, offering a free courtesy bus to take members and guests there from Katoomba. It took over the bistro at the club, keeping a lot of staff in their jobs.
The club has administrative offices in Katoomba’s town centre area.