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SBD Global/August 29, 2012/Franchises

NRL's Cronulla Sharks' Stadium Development Proposal Secures Club's Future

National Rugby League club Cronulla Sharks Chair Damian Irvine believes that the official approval of the club's A$300M ($311M) development proposal "will put an end to speculation about the Sharks' future once and for all," according to Brad Walter of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The decision by the New South Wales government's Planning Assessment Commission on Tuesday "was the final step in a long-running bid to develop land adjacent to Toyota Stadium." It will result in an immediate A$10M boost to the Sharks' coffers. While the development, which includes shops and residential units, will not turn the club into a powerhouse, Irvine said that "the Sharks now had the security to plan their future." Irvine said, "It is the biggest day in the footy club's history, it really is. Three years ago, the position we were in was that the banks had had enough, really." Under the terms of a deal with a consortium of the three property developers led by Bluestone Capital Ventures, the Sharks "will receive A$10M within 90 days of the development being approved." It is estimated that rent from retailers "will earn the club more than A$1M a year once the project is completed." Irvine said, "Our plan is to be a powerhouse, but this alone doesn't create that. It just means that now we have got this foundation and confidence of security forever...we can build on that" (SMH, 8/29). Also in Sydney, Stuart Honeysett wrote that the Sharks "have been on shaky financial ground for a number of years." It was only three years ago that the NRL visited the club and asked for "an update on its financial situation following constant speculation it could fall over." Those days are now well and truly over after the Planning Assessment Commission posted on its website that "it had accepted the proposal." The PAC said, "After careful consideration, the commission has made some modification to the concept plan and added to the future assessment requirements that will apply. With these amendments and additional requirements in place, the commission is satisfied with the proposal and consequently has approved the concept plan" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/29).
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