Rabbitohs Submit final Funding Herffron application

4th April 2017

South Sydney Rabbitohs are close to completing their move to a new home at Maroubra after submitting a final funding application for a $32 million Community and High Performance Centre at Heffron Park. Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly said he was “extremely confident” the club would secure the $15.31m it was seeking from the State Government NRL Centres of Excellence Program after lodging the papers last Friday. The cash would be added to $4m of the club’s own money, plus the $10m already committed by the Federal Government, and another $3m from Randwick Council. “All NSW-based NRL clubs are bidding for the $40 million funding pot, and we’re in that process,” Mr Solly said. “We certainly feel that given the support the Federal government and Randwick Council have put in, and what we’ve done to make sure there will be significant value to community in building the centre, we will do well out of the State government process. “We just have to wait now and find out, once we do that we can get on with the design and development application process ... everyone is very excited.” Council discussed a draft terms document at last Tuesday’s meeting, detailing the proposed 21 year lease for the Community and High Performance Centre building. The market value of the rent was independently valued at $110/sq m per annum, with Souths entitled to offset capital contributions, and a subsidy applied to the part of the premises used by the club’s community arm Souths Cares. Council would also fund the construction of the 14,091sq m oval already approved in the Heffron Park Plan of Management and Masterplan, with community-based groups including Souths Cares to be given access capped at 400 hours per year. Mr Solly said the proposed length of the lease reflected the club’s commitment to a long-term future at Maroubra. “We have worked for almost four years to fund and build a centre that the community, club and council will be proud of for a long time,” he said. “Council have done a wonderful job with making improvements to Heffron to make it the centre of sport for the community, and if we can contribute to that plan then that’s great.” The Rabbitohs’ lease on their present home at Redfern Oval will expire in 2020, with construction on the Heffron centre expected to take 18 months from the date of approval. Mr Solly said limited space in the booming inner-city suburb meant it would have been difficult for the club to expand its facilities there. “There’ll be some tears shed when we leave Redfern because it has been the club’s home for a long period of time,” he said. “Heffron and Redfern are in our traditional catchment, so it’s not like moving home base is outside the traditional South Sydney boundaries. “At the end of the day we want to give the community, the team and coaching staff a centre of excellence that will ensure we can be competitive in the NRL for the next 15 to 20 years.” The total size of the building would be 5,500sq m, housing the Rabbitohs’ gym facilities, an aquatics centre, players’ development and medical treatment areas, football executive, commercial and administration offices, and media and communications facilities. A merchandise store, cafe, public toilets, lecture theatre and meeting rooms would also be made available for non-exclusive use.