THE community could be enjoying the new Hakoah at White City by mid-2023, president Steven Lowy said this week.
His update at the club’s annual general meeting on Tuesday night comes despite the coronavirus pandemic impacting the development process and fundraising efforts.
“I am confident that our community will once again embrace Hakoah as its communal, cultural, social and sporting hub,” he said.
“We remain on track to make this dream of Hakoah at White City a reality.”
Construction, which was hoped to begin later this year after an anticipated development approval, is now expected to commence mid next year, he said.
Lowy added, “We believe we have created a business model that is sustainable and produces financial, cultural and social dividends to our community.”
Heads of Terms agreements are in place for the club’s fitness and wellness centre as well as a Learn to Swim operator and a number of communal organisations to use the facilities.
The new club will not have poker machines however, after the AGM resolved to sell Hakoah’s 18 remaining licenses.
Meanwhile, the board is working on a governance plan to ensure the facility always remains in communal hands.
Lowy told The AJN that the board has been “quietly but very actively” working behind the scenes to achieve a number of conditions precedent to starting the project, including being “very close to choosing a builder”.
“We’re doing the things we need to [do] in a disciplined and timely manner and I hope by early next year – latest mid-next year – we would have achieved those things,” he said.
“We of course paused our fundraising because of COVID and because of the needs of many of the other organisations in the community … we halted our membership drive and going out to the broader community.”
So far $40 million out of $60 million has been raised for the project.
“We never got a chance to finish the job. We had a very, very strong response from many of the major donors … we simply ran out of time when COVID hit,” Lowy said.
He added that once everything else is in place including funding, governance, building approval and a builder, “We’ll have all the excitement necessary for a membership drive at that time.”
He added that with an anticipated mid-2023 completion, “It’ll be very important coming out of COVID that we have our communal hub.
“We’ve all been stuck in our homes not being able to do all the communal activities that we desperately want to do together. How wonderful that will be if we can achieve that.”