The Wollongong Golf Club wants to sell the City Diggers club so it can be demolished and a hotel built on the site, members have been told.
The City Diggers passed to the golf club's ownership in 2020 when the Wollongong Ex-Services Club was merged with the golf club - which vowed to continue the RSL clubhouse for defence force veterans.
Golf club members will soon vote on whether to reclassify the building at 82 Church St as "non-core"property of the club, so it can be sold to its neighbour for a minimum of $7 million.
The vote will happen at a meeting on September 21 and a proposal sent to members says there are challenges to the viability of the present City Diggers location - in particular an ageing and declining membership, access, and significant costs required for refurbishment and repairs.
Improvement or development of the site as the City Diggers club would not be viable given the lack of parking for members to access, the proposal states.
Instead the golf club would sell the site to the owner of the large David Jones building and car park next door, and the City Diggers would be demolished.
"We are very hopeful of the support of our members, as our part in the project cannot progress without them," Wollongong Gold Club CEO Leigh Hingston told the Mercury.
"This opportunity is ultimately for our members - to give a new, custom built club, with superior amenities, basement car parking and a more secured financial future."
The proposal says the club was approached by the owner of the David Jones properties, a company called 171Crown Pty Ltd, with the hotel plan since the merger occurred in 2020. It is understood this company is part of a consortium.
A new City Diggers club would be included on the first floor in the new development and leased back to the club, with the plans understood to include four storeys of hotel above it and underground parking.
The property was transferred in the merger to Wollongong Golf Club from the City Diggers club, which had purchased it for $2.5 million in 2005 from the Wollongong RSL sub-branch.
"The Wollongong RSL sub-branch [has] been consulted with along the way and will be involved in the process moving forward," Mr Hingston said.
"They themselves went through a similar process when they initially sold the club back in 2004. They are an important community partner to us, and we value their support enormously."
RSL sub-branch honorary secretary Peter Lipscomb said its members would be meeting on Monday to discuss the proposal.
He said the sub-branch had been told the memorial on the corner of the building would be included in the plans in some form.
"We're pleased that part of this plan will be a City Diggers club operating in Wollongong for the next 40 years," he said.
"We have been told we'll be involved as much as they can in the process of ensuring that there is still a place for veterans to attend after commemorative events, for our sub-branch members to have meetings and to have our memorabilia displayed a cenotaph.
"The memorial on the corner of Crown and Burelli, there will be a memorial incorporated in some way."
The Wollongong Ex-services Club Limited, the previous owner of the site, was deregistered as a company in July last year.
The company 171crown is a significant landowner in the Crown St Mall, having bought the David Jones building and car park for $22 million in 2021.
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