A new eatery with a family-friendly feel will be a key component of North Wollongong Surf Club's $10 million upgrade. The restaurant tenant will be chosen through a tender process, with expressions of interest now open.
The work on the surf club includes reconfiguring internal spaces to suit modern surf lifesaving functions, installing an elevator and construction of additional balcony areas.
Earlier this year, North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club lodged plans to introduce a restaurant to the first floor of its clubhouse.
A development application was approved by Wollongong City Council to sublease part of the premises, which is permitted under the club's lease, for a restaurant.
MMJ is managing the independent tender process.
Michael Croghan, director of MMJ Commercial Leasing said the potential was to not just have a restaurant above the surf club, but to create a community and tourist focal point akin to a Queensland-style surf club without poker machines.
DA approval provides for 300-seat capacity and trading hours of 6am to midnight, seven days a week.
"We are clearly after a family-friendly operator," Mr Croghan said.
"It will be a great hospitality venue. The surf club has really good attendance for functions, but this will be a whole other ball game."
Club president David Meredith said the income from the restaurant would boost the financial sustainability of the organisation.
He said the plan was to create a "Queensland-style" clubwith modern facilities and an outlet that offered benefits to members to hopefully attract new patrolling members to the club's ranks.
He said they were seeking a family-friendly eatery, in keeping with the feel of the club, its members and surf lifesaving in general.
"It won't be a high-priced restaurant - we want people to be able to come off the beach, grab a bite and have a refreshment," he said.
He said it was also expected to provide new employment opportunities, with the creation of 50 to 70 hospitality jobs, a mix of part-time and full-time employees.
Mr Croghan said the expected handover to the tenant is June/July 2022, "hopefully in sufficient time for the chosen operator to be fully operational prior to Wollongong hosting the World Cycling Championships and as the perfect lead into summer".
The tenant will be responsible for the fit-out of the restaurant and any associated approvals.
"We are targeting experienced, quality operators and have already had very strong inquiry prior to commencement of marketing," Mr Croghan said.
"We firmly believe Wollongong is a city that is 'coming of age' and this development has the chance to be a true 'jewel in the crown' for the region."
The area for lease includes all of Level 1, with a designated lift and stairs.
The premises for lease is 600 square metres - 450 square metres internal plus 150 square metres alfresco/balconies.
The first round of expression of interest tenders close on December 21.