As the South Sydney Rabbitohs prepare to take on the Penrith Panthers in the 2021 NRL Grand Final this weekend, construction has started in Maroubra on a new facility that the club will call home from the start of the 2023 season.
The 1908 NRL foundation club is moving from Redfern to their supporter heartland of Maroubra.
The new facility, known as the Heffron Centre, will house the Rabbitohs players, training facilities, administration, Souths Cares as well as a dedicated community gymnastics centre and indoor sports centre.
The $58M project is a joint initiative of Randwick City Council and the South Sydney Rabbitohs with part funding provided by the NSW State Government ($11.8M) and Federal Government ($10M).
The community-focused facility will be a welcome addition to the south-eastern suburbs community providing an opportunity for professional sports to mix with community sports.
Randwick Mayor Danny Said, Souths CEO Blake Solly and the NSW Minister for Sport Natalie Ward welcomed the start of construction.
“It’s fantastic to be starting construction on this project just days away from the Rabbitohs appearing in the 2021 NRL Grand Final,” says Randwick Mayor Danny Said.
“The Heffron Centre will be the Rabbitohs’ new home as well as a dedicated community sporting facility with a new indoor sports centre and gymnastics centre twice the size of the current facilities.
“The centre has been designed to be a true community space with an open café, memorabilia area, shared internal ‘street’ and this means you’ll have community members mixing with elite athletes,” says Mayor Danny Said.
Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly said the club is really excited about the new centre.
“First and foremost, it’s going to be a wonderful home to the players, coaching staff and administration staff, but probably more importantly we’re really excited about the fact it’s going to be the new home for Souths Cares,” says Mr Solly.
“This will allow us to expand upon the transformational projects and programs that they run for all of the people in our community but particularly those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged.Blake Solly Rabbitohs CE)
“Along with Randwick Council and the State and Federal Governments we’re very keen to ensure this is a project that not only is the club proud of but that the community is proud of too,” says Mr Solly.
Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said the new facility will ensure everyone in the local community has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of sport.
“I’m delighted the NSW Government, through our Centres of Excellence Program, is supporting the delivery of world-class multi-purpose sporting facilities,” Mrs Ward said.
“We know the positive impact that staying active can have on our physical and social wellbeing, so I’m thrilled the Heffron Centre will offer something for everyone, from grassroots through to elite level programs.”
Construction of the Heffron Centre will generate 200 jobs and more than 60 ongoing jobs through the operation of the facility.
The community gymnastics facility will be able to operate seven days a week up to 10pm and includes state-of-the-art facilities including a dedicated gymnastics zone showcasing community history, awards and memories.
The indoor sports centre will also operate seven days a week up to 10pm with two multi-purpose sports halls to accommodate sports such as netball, basketball, badminton, volleyball and futsal.
The Heffron Centre is being built by head builder ADCO and will be fully owned by Randwick City Council with lease arrangements in place to the South Sydney Rabbitohs and to Belgravia Leisure to operate the indoor sports centre and gymnastics centre.
The centre is expected to open in late 2022 and in time for the 2023 NRL season.