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18 May

Merewether Golf Club members vote for seniors living redevelopment

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Merewether Golf Club members vote for seniors living redevelopment GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the Merewether Golf Club redevelopment, including a new clubhouse, left, and seniors village. The development is subject to council approval.
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The pool in the seniors village.

The car park and clubhouse entry.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the Merewether Golf Club redevelopment.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the proposed Merewether clubhouse.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the proposed Merewether clubhouse.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the proposed Merewether clubhouse.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the proposed Merewether clubhouse.

GRAND PLANS: An artist’s impression of the proposed Merewether clubhouse.

TweetFacebookNewcastle Heraldreported last year that the club was investigating redevelopment plans to shore upits long-term financial position.

Those initial plansincludedbetween 115 and 150 “high-end” apartments catering for up to 200 seniors on the club’s existing car park and short ninth hole.

SomeHunter golfclubs are in financial difficultydue to a general downturn in the industry and an ageing membership base.

But it is understood Merewether, which has 1100 members, is in a relatively strong financial position.

Ms Heritage said on Friday that the deal with Thirdi would provide the club with long-term lease revenue and a replacement for its dilapidated clubhouse.

“Our membership is great, but the membership alone is not going to replace our facility,” Ms Heritage said.

An artist’s impression of the pool in the proposed seniors village.

Shortland Waters, Cessnock, Newcastle (Fern Bay) and Belmont are among other Hunter golf clubs to have entertained redevelopments to prop up their finances.

Cessnock has gone into voluntary administrationthis year with debts of more than $11million after entering into a $30 million joint venture with Daracon Group in 2005.

Shortland Waters also went into administration this year and has fallenout with aged care company Aveoover a seniors development and partial course rebuild.

The Shortland club’s use oftemporary holes during construction work has discouragedgolfers from playing at the course and cutthe club’s revenue.

Ms Heritage said all work on the Merewether course would be completebefore the clubhouse and apartment construction began.

“We have learnt a very big lesson,” she said. “…We will always have an 18-hole golf course throughout this project.”

Mr Berry described the joint venture as the “perfect templateon how a club can engage with a developer and create a win-win for both companies at the time of the development and well into the future”.

Ms Heritage said the club plannedto upgrade the Merewether course to a significantly higher standard.

“It will be a five-star course when we have finished,” she said.

“It will be a fantastic facility. We’re looking to make this a premier inner-city course.”

The club will hold a briefing for nearby residents on October 8.

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