Raymond Terrace Bowling Club is leading the town’s surge in growth and development with a major multi-pronged proposal for upgraded and greatly expanded facilities, to attract an array of visitors.
Plans lodged with Port Stephens Council outline a three-stage $39 million project that will create a six-storey hotel set to become the tallest structure in town, with 50 rooms, bar and restaurant, gym, pool and large auditorium.
Raymond Terrace Bowling Club (RTBC) will celebrate its centenary in 2032, and the old clubhouse is in need of a refresh. Atop the new construction, the DA specifies work on both the clubhouse and bowling greens.
“It needs an upgrade, so we thought why not be ambitious,” says RTBC chairman, Brett Gleeson.
The club boasts a long history as a premier contender and was recently dubbed 2023 NSW club of the year, after taking the pennant for both first and second, which was the first time this had ever been achieved.
It was also the first bowling club in the Southern Hemisphere to install covered synthetic greens, more than four decades ago.
This development application has been in the works internally for several years. The Jacaranda Avenue site will be geared toward RTBC’s ambitions to host national and international bowling tournaments.
Works will take place in three stages, over the next seven years, with hope to celebrate the 100-year birthday in the completed development.
The first stage will be the club upgrade, with significant internal changes and expansion, including more than doubling the current auditorium capacity of 350-pax, to seat at least 800. The expectation is that this will bolster the club’s ability to host entertainment and conferences.
Next will be rejuvenation of the bowling greens, before construction of the hotel, with floorspace of around 3,800sqm offering quality accommodation for tournaments.
Raymond Terrace is found 28 kilometres north of the Newcastle CBD, and just 20 minutes from the airport. While seen by some as a little remote, it champions itself as well placed for visitation, located at the junction of two major highways.
Finding a growing population, the precinct is seeing major expansion with the in-progress Kings Hill development.
Port Stephens West Ward Councillor Giacomo Arnott says he is “thrilled” to see the club making such a huge investment in the community. The last major development at Raymond Terrace was the Marketplace Shopping Centre, built in the early 2000s.
RTBC has a goal to create something the community will be proud of, and expects to begin construction in 18 months, or sooner if the DA approval allows. Stages one and two are each slated to take six to eight months.
After the first two stages are complete, the club plans to assess its economic position and level of trade before diving into the next commitment, in the hope of staying debt-free.
“We’re doing as much of this as we can with minimal loans,” furthered Gleeson.
“The hotel is the biggest component of it, and we’ll take a cautious approach to stage three as to when it happens.”