Barely four months after entering an agreement with Mirvac to redevelop the Waverley, the Easts Group today celebrated the start of construction with a ground breaking ceremony.

The renewal of the site to create two new bowling greens, a new community venue and 55 luxury apartments for those aged over 55 is proceeding at a cracking pace, to be completed in time for the bowlers to celebrate their 130th anniversary in 2023 on their home greens.

Easts Group Chairman Mr Nick Politis said the new club would be focused on the future, and through the partnership with Mirvac, looked forward to providing the Eastern Suburbs with a first-class sporting, social and community asset.

“The redevelopment secures the future of the Waverley and delivers a valuable community asset to be enjoyed by our Members, residents and local community,” said Mr Politis.

“We are committed to delivering a niche hospitality offering that includes an indoor-outdoor casual and contemporary café, bistro and bar, with a strong garden feel reminiscent of the site’s history, where our community can enjoy a social occasion with friends and family.”

“The fact that construction is beginning only four months after signing the agreement with Mirvac demonstrates the commitment of both organisations to deliver a home for our Members in time to celebrate the Waverley bowlers’ 130th anniversary,” said Mr Politis.

Waverley President Patrick Fitzsimons said that after eight years of negotiations, to see the redevelopment finally begin was a moment for the history books.

“We are the sixth oldest bowling club in Sydney and there is a lot of history attached to the Waverley,” said Mr Fitzsimons. “Once history is gone, it’s gone forever whereas this is the Phoenix rising from the ashes, coming back better than it ever was.

“It will be the best bowling club in the Eastern Suburbs. I already have people asking when it will open, not just bowlers but families and people in the community. This has always been a little oasis in the Eastern Suburbs where people can come and play barefoot bowls or just sit outside and watch the competition bowlers.”

Waverley Lady President Marilyn Eccles said the club was now in a ‘very good place’.

“There is a sense of coming full circle,” said Ms Eccles. “When the club was formed in 1893, we were based in Bondi Junction near easts and we share the same red white and blue colours as the Roosters so there is a feeling of truly coming together.

“We are a club that has always been prepared to chart new territory. We were the first to integrate men and women bowlers into the one club and the first after Paddington to introduce barefoot bowls. The local community wanted us to stay here and that is exactly what we plan to do. This is our home and home is where the heart is.”

Mirvac Head of Residential Stuart Penklis said the company was determined to deliver this project to Mirvac’s high standards creating a new community venue and greens worthy of the club’s rich history.

“Today marks the turning point for both the Easts Group and Waverley when we begin construction of what will be a magnificent new facility to be enjoyed by Members and the wider community,” said Mr Penklis.

“We are extremely proud to be entrusted with the delivery of such a historic site and look forward to working with Easts to build a new legacy.”

“Easts Group and Waverley worked closely with the community for many years to finalise a proposal that has won broad support,” said Mr Penklis.

The 55 apartments will be dispersed across four buildings including the Birrell St corner apartments with the new club facilities at ground level overlooking the greens. This building offers some of the best ocean views, and will also have a landscaped rooftop with residential communal facilities such as barbecue and outdoor dining for the private use of the residents.

In a touching reminder of the site’s earlier history as St Gabriel’s School, President of the Old Girls’ Union Glen Barnwell entrusted Mirvac with an etched glass panel, the only known remnant to have survived demolition. “We are all still emotionally invested in the school and it is the wish of the Old Girls that this last known bit of the school finds a permanent place on the site,” said Ms Barnwell.

“We are all still emotionally invested in the school and it is the wish of the Old Girls that this last known bit of the school finds a permanent home in a permanent place on the site,” said Ms Barnwell.

Mirvac has already begun fielding enquires from locals looking to secure a new quality home. “Mirvac’s first apartment development was in Rose Bay back in 1972 and the Eastern Suburbs was our favoured location for many years, earning us a lot of extremely loyal customers,” said Mr Penklis.

“Our last residential project was The Moreton in Bondi which sold out in a single weekend. With only 55 apartments in this project and new development sites as good as this one so rare in the east, we are anticipating healthy demand.”