BATHURST RSL has secured its future in the CBD by negotiating an option to buy the vacant Clancy Motors site.
The RSL has agreed to terms with Bolam Property Investments to purchase the 4103 square metre lot on Howick Street, with the deal to be finalised within 18 months.
RSL general manager Peter Sargent said the timeframe was crucial to the deal, allowing the club the opportunity to pay off the CityFit building it bought in January 2018 before moving on to the next acquisition.
He said the option provided certainty for both the RSL and Bolam Property Investments.
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"They now know what the future looks like and can continue developing their business knowing this site is spoken for and we now know we have 18 months to get rid of that [CityFit] debt," Mr Sargent said.
"We can do it in less time but that gives us a bit of a buffer."
Mr Sargent said the club would initially use the Clancy's site for parking - as has been the case since Bolam Property Investments opened it to the public early this year - and they would consider taking a commercial lease on the buildings.
There are no firm long-term plans, however.
"Since the Bolams opened up the site for people to park there it has really relieved the pressure on [the council-owned car park behind the RSL] which has always been a major issue for us," Mr Sargent said.
"The main thing for us was that we couldn't afford for another developer to purchase the Clancy's site and redevelop it in a way that again took away that parking.
"The club has almost been choked by parking in the past and we had to ensure it couldn't happen again."
The Clancy's purchase will make Bathurst RSL the biggest single landholder in the CBD and ensure it has a seat at the table during any future planning for the area.
The RSL also owns four houses at the corner of Rankin and Russell streets that will likely be razed one day to accommodate an expansion of the club.
"Part of our strategic plan has always been to ensure our footprint in the Bathurst CBD," club president Ian Miller said.
"With this purchase we will be the major landholder in the CBD but the reality is that if we want to expand then we will need to provide extra parking."
Bolam Property Investments CEO Meg Bolam-Williams said her family was pleased the site would be moving into community ownership through the club.
"We feel this is a really positive move for the future of the Bathurst CBD," Ms Bolam-Williams said.
"It means that, ultimately, any future re-development is more likely to occur in line with community expectations, and community needs, as opposed to being driven purely by commercial interests."
Bathurst RSL is Bathurst's largest licensed club with about 16,500 members.
Staff were told of the new acquisition during two meetings with club management on Tuesday.