THE Bathurst RSL Club will look towards Russell Street for its next expansion despite its acquisition of the adjacent Cityfit building, according to club general manager Peter Sargent.
Mr Sargent says an expansion towards Russell Street has long been part of the club’s plans and that hasn’t changed.
“Cityfit does not form part of the future expansion plans at this stage,” he said. “That was not our view [in purchasing the property]. We're very happy with where it is.”
The club announced in January that it had reacquired the Cityfit building, which it built in 1973 but was forced to sell to Bathurst Regional Council in the 1980s due to financial difficulties.
Mr Sargent said the building was purchased to continue the club’s drive to diversify its revenue “so we become less reliant on those traditional forms – liquor and gaming”.
“The income in terms of rent will be revenue that falls outside of the traditional club revenue,” he said.
But he said the purchase of the building also provides a bigger property footprint for the club in the CBD.
“You could not build it [the Cityfit building] in town now,” he said. “In the current position, you could not build it like that now. So we're proud that we own it.”
Club president Ian Miller said the board and management were watching Bathurst’s strong population growth with interest.
“We are fully aware that Bathurst is expanding and we need to keep up with that expansion,” he said.
“The board and management will look at what we can do to accommodate that growing population.”
Mr Sargent said it was well-known that the club owns four houses on Russell Street.
”That has always been part of our strategic plan to expand in that area,” he said. “That has not changed. That's the logical place for us to spread our wings.
“We have held and maintained those properties for that purpose - for strategic expansion.”
But he said other clubs had previously been guilty of biting off more than they could chew, “so our future expansion won't happen until we are in a financial position to do so”.
Mr Sargent said the Bathurst RSL Club had borrowed money each time to expand and that will be the strategy for the next expansion.
“But we’ll do it conservatively and in a manner that is sustainable,” he said.
He said the club could “not be more pleased” to have Gary and Margot Webster at Cityfit and he hopes they will continue to operate the fitness business for the long-term.