A year after a division of Gibbons Holdings bought the ailing Suburban Club, plans are forming for the future of the Tahunanui site.
Company chief executive Scott Gibbons confirmed to the Weekly that it will develop a complex converting the club’s site into a retail hub featuring cafes, a convenience store and shops for other small goods.
“It’s been a work in progress and we have been working with the club to refine their needs,” Scott says.
The club itself will occupy a smaller floor space, with much of the newer parts of the building being kept while older parts will be demolished and redeveloped.
“It is something fresh and new with a convenience factor, so we are pretty excited about it,” Scott says.
He believes it will help service the growing Tahunanui area as well as the Port Hills and parts of Stoke. There will be space for about four or five different spaces with some more coming further in the future.
“We are looking to develop a centre that has long-term potential,” Scott says.
“It takes time. We could have gone in overnight and done something B-grade, but we want something A-grade.”
Plans are still being finalised, but Scott says there will be something definitive to put out to potential stakeholders within the next two weeks.
He hopes the entire project will be complete by the end of the year.
It is a far cry from where the club was. Only recently its debt reached $2.7 million and it was in a precarious financial situation.
The site, which includes 150 car parks, had a rateable value of $4.8 million.
After being put up for sale in December 2015, a division of Nelson group Gibbons Holdings purchased the club in March last year.
Suburban Club president Leigh Bromell says the plans are “really exciting”.
“Yes, it will be a smaller space but we can do whatever we want for it, which is really positive.”
She says they made the plans public to members and there had not been any negative feedback.
The Returned Services Association is also keen to stay on in the new space.
Leigh says membership was stable and the club was now looking to the future.