The owners of the controversial Balmain leagues Club site have welcomed Transport for NSW's decision that the site will no longer be required for the Western Harbour Tunnel Project. Head of Property at Heworth Holdings Group, Christopher Walsh, said the company is "relieved" the 4-year debacle now looks to be over, "notwithstanding the unresolved matter of compensation".
"Our development is DA-approved and has been shovel-ready, but we've been forced to put a hold on our critical development activities since early 2020, including design development works, contractor procurement, and sales and marketing, at a time when we were ready to commence off-the-plan sales," he said.
"As a result of the indecision over the use of the site, we've suffered enormous financial losses and our plans to deliver a new Club for the Balmain Tigers and their members has been delayed."
READ MORE: Abandoned Balmain leagues club up in flames
In 2018 Heworth Holdings Group secured the long-disused site for $75 million with the vision of creating a $400 million mixed-use development which would include a community arts studio, 167 residential apartments, a supermarket and the new Balmain Tigers Leagues Club. But last October, a seven-year lease over the Rozelle site was compulsory acquired by Transport for NSW to use as a tunnelling "dive site" for the Western Harbour Tunnel project.
But yesterday Transport for NSW announced the site would no longer be needed for tunnelling works and would be handed back to Heworth who had already commenced preliminary works on site following the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel granting approval of their development application in September 2020.
"Heworth intends progressing with the development once the site is handed back and we look forward to meeting with the Wests Tigers Club and our other key stakeholders so we can deliver this landmark project for the Inner-West Community," Mr Walsh said.
The announcement the site will be handed back to Heworth comes after a "large and dangerous" fire tore through the abandoned site earlier this month and reignited calls for the NSW Government to secure the site. In last week's council meeting the Inner West Council unanimously resolved to issue a demolition and clean-up order on the "derelict and unsafe" site.
"It's a disgrace that the NSW Government has to be forced to clean up this dangerous fire safety and asbestos hazard," said mayor Darcy Byrne.
Major construction on the Western Harbour Tunnel is set to begin in mid-2022.
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