Only one developer for WIN Stadium

Austadiums   |  Thursday 19th October 2006

Nine months after tenders were called for the redevelopment of WIN Stadium, only one developer has put up their hand to undertake the multimillion-dollar project.

With just the one option on the table, there are questions now being asked about whether the State Government will give its blessing on the project or peg back what was a grand vision for the site.

Three years ago, a feasibility study foreshadowed a $30 million hotel development alongside a new 3500-seat western grandstand that featured a restaurant, shops and an overhead walkway to the Steelers Club. But this would have required the Government to kick in millions of dollars from its own coffers and was deemed too expensive.

On January 12 this year, expressions of interest were opened to the public in the hope of finding private firms willing to fund a new grandstand alongside their own retail or tourist development.

This week, Wollongong Sportsground Trust issued the NSW Sports Minister Sandra Nori with the final outcome of the tender process - with one name on its list.

"There was only one proposal that came in," said one source close to the deal. "Do they start again or do they try to remain wedded to what they've got?"

Trust chairman Chris Christodoulou said he would not "comment on speculation" about the number of tenders that came in. He said the formal advice to Ms Nori was delayed by a last-minute order for clarification from her office.

"The Trust made a recommendation to the minister, however the minister and the department have asked the Trust to undergo one final process before it finalises its recommendation," he said.

He said this final task would establish whether the Trust has "someone to negotiate with or not".

A spokesman for Sandra Nori said the tender details remained "commercial in confidence".

"Any further developments still need to go before Cabinet," he said.

Steelers Club chairman Peter Newell said the Dragons had signed to play at the stadium until 2011, but the club was still "anxious" to see a renovation go ahead.

LINTON BESSER
Illawarra Mercury

WIN Stadium

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