RSL manager Jo Schwenke looks at the extension plans for the club, due to start in a couple of months.
RSL manager Jo Schwenke looks at the extension plans for the club, due to start in a couple of months. Emma Channon

Plans for new RSL function room

FROM the walls of her new office in the RSL and away from the banter of happy diners, Jo Schwenke is busy talking building plans.

The RSL manager is finalising designs for an extension to the club, which she hopes will fill the niche for more weddings, dinners and conferences.

While the current venue space King’s Theatre has always been a popular choice, Mrs Schwenke said the RSL needed another alternative to help cater for smaller sized functions.

“King’s Theatre can hold anywhere between 70-300 people when seated, so it’s quite a big space,” she said.

“We’re wanting to provide an upmarket choice for people wanting a smaller space.

“There’s quite a shortfall of places that can hold 40-50 guests, so this way we’ll be able to offer another choice.

“I think it’s a real need for the club and it’s very exciting.”

The second function room will be added to the northern side of the RSL and take up just two cark parks.

The current entry point on that side will not be moved.

The benefit of having it in that place, Mrs Schwenke explained, was the proximity to the kitchen area.

While Mrs Schwenke hoped the construction will begin in a matter of months, she said it was still in its initial stage.

“We’re still in the planning and development stage but we’ll be starting very soon,” she said.

“We’ll be doing the same process with recent renovations and calling for expressions of interest soon.”

The RSL recently finished smaller scale renovations, including converting Mrs Schwenke’s former office into a conference room; adding another cold room and toilet amenities.

Mrs Schwenke assured business would “be as normal” when the building for the new room commenced.

“Also, we’ll make sure the two car parks that will be taken away (for the site of the new conference room) will be replaced at a later stage,” she added.

Meanwhile, a lease has been signed at the soon-to-be offices at 124 Grafton St.

The building’s owners of four years, Karen and Kevin Hockley, said the renovations have nearly come to an end.

“McNally Constructions have done a full renovation for us and have just about re-birthed it inside and out,” Mrs Hockley said.

“We’re just waiting on council to approve the footpath out front but it should all be finished in the next week or two.”

While the pair was unable to release the name of the business that would lease the building, they said it was a consultancy business.

“It’s part of a national company and they’re locally based here,” Mrs Hockley added.

The building was previously leased out to a family and Mrs Hockley said the new business operator had approached the owners in regards to leasing it out.

Five vertical car parks have been laid out in front of the building for customers.

Further uptown and the lessor of the building adjacent to Hungry Jacks is still under wraps.

Agent Mike Stewart from LJ Hooker was able to give a clue as to what business would move in and said it would “compliment” the fast food outlet next door.

“It’s not going to be burgers and chips,” he said.

Meanwhile, over at the Industrial Estate, early work has begun at the Grove Juice Factory site at Kenilworth St.



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