Invitation to attend signing of building redevelopment contracts

There will be a small event at the RRC Boathouse at 3pm on Tuesday 28th January when the contract with the builder for the redevelopment works will be signed.
The event will only take 15 minutes but will provide an opportunity for RRC and MLC to thank those who have been involved in the project.
All members are welcome to attend. Be on time, or you will miss it!

Redevelopment now out to Tender

Exciting news – the tender for the boathouse redevelopment was issued on Friday 15 November and closes on 12 December. All going well, we will select a builder and sign contracts before Christmas.
This means building works will start early in the New Year. There will be no interruption to the rowing program until April at the earliest. We will have more details on any interruptions when we have finalised the building works plan with the builder early in the New Year.
Signing the building contract is contingent on DEPI and City of Melbourne signing our sub-lease with MLC and providing Ministerial Approval for the redevelopment. Both have been sought and the departments are aware that we are at tender and they need to provide this before contracts can be signed. We are hopeful  that we will be successful in getting this sign-off in time.
A really big thank you to Franziska Locher and Liz Shiel who have put in so many, many hours behind the scenes to get everything ready for the tender. To Stephen Colley from MLC for also putting in much work to ensure we could get to tender and to the architects at FMSA.

Redevelopment FAQ – General

I have more questions – where can I get further information?
The most direct way to get additional information about the redevelopment project is to either post a question/comment on the blog or send an email to one of the redevelopment team.
The project team will endeavour to get back to you with relevant information as soon as they are able.

Redevelopment FAQ – Governance

Who is working on the redevelopment project?
The Redevelopment project team comprises:

  • Martin Foster – Head of Club Development
  • Lucy Crunden – Vice President
  • Emma Catford – President
  • Franziska Locher – Club member and Architect
  • Liz Sheil – Club member and Construction engineer

Franziska and Liz are leading the design and build phase of the project and are working very closely with the architects and other service providers to ensure the new building meets with MLC and RRC requirements.
Martin, Lucy and Emma have primarily been focusing on the new lease negotiations with CoM, MLC and prospective new tenants, finance, liquor licensing, and other project management functions.
This team reports to the RRC Committee who is ultimately responsible for the project and ensuring its completion within budget and on time.
Has the committee asked other rowing clubs about their experiences of boatshed expansions?
Yes. The committee as sought feedback from both YYRC and MRC regarding their experiences with their redevelopment projects and the impact on membership numbers.
On membership numbers post redevelopment, both YYRC and MRC have mentioned that they experienced a short lived boost which levelled off within a year or two.

Redevelopment FAQ – Design

Who decided the design of the new building?
The Committee and MLC have engaged FMSA Architects to design the new building.
During the design phase of the project FMSA, Franziska and Liz met with MLC on a fortnightly basis, and alternatively with RRC to discuss design ideas and requirements.
Final design approval is subject to agreement by both RRC and MLC.
When can we see what the new clubhouse will look like?
For those that attended the RRC Presentation night on 2 June you would have been taken through the plan for the interior layout of the new clubhouse by Emma and seen a copy of the proposed design.
During June and July FMSA, with the project team and MLC, have progressed the design for the clubs exterior including possible options for the materials/finishes that might be used.
Some of the considerations in determining the final look for the club include: material durability, cost, future maintenance, graffiti, aesthetic and connection to the existing structure.
While the design for the interior has been agreed upon, no decisions have been made on the exterior. However it is intended that final design will be available for member viewing at the upcoming AGM on 28 July. At this meeting there will be a full briefing and 3D drawings available on the clubhouse design.
Copies of the final drawings will be made available on the club website/blog as soon as RRC and MLC have reached agreement.

Redevelopment FAQ – Boat Bays

How many bays that will be allocated to RRC fleet?
For the time being RRC will continue to operate out of one boat bay.  There are no immediate plans for RRC to occupy additional ground floor space, however we will get some additional boat racking space by moving the front stairs to the outside of the building’s footprint. This will provide the club with approximately 20% more boat racking space.
The committee believe that this space will meet the club’s needs into the foreseeable future.  The sport is phasing out non-racing (tub) hulls, and boat builders have recognized that storage space is increasingly at a premium; newer boats of all sizes (1, 2, 4, 8) are designed to be rigged and de-rigged for each session.  With updated racks, improved sources of ongoing revenue from the development, and ongoing fleet turnover this would allow the club to effectively double the number of boats stored on each rack.
The number of members that the club can support today is primarily limited by the number of volunteer coaches and coxes, as well as the limited common time available to train that each member of a crew has at their disposal.  This is why a lot of the club’s current rowing schedule is clustered around Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning and evenings, as well as Saturday and Sunday mornings.
If required, fleet utilisation can be further increased by wider distribution of crew training times (5 weekday mornings and evenings, 2 full days on weekends).
The above would support the twin goals of storing more fleet, and maximising the utilisation of the space.
Will there be additional storage space at the clubhouse for riggers, oars, furniture?
Through the redevelopment additional specific storage space will be allocated to store, among other things, tables, chairs, riggers and other equipment.
Internal storage and layout logistics are still being worked out and there have been many improvements in racking and storage designs over the last 10-15 years that we hope to take advantage of, until we figure out all the configurations, we can’t say for sure what will be stored exactly where at this stage.
However additional space will be created by moving the front stairs outside of the club’s current footprint will require us to reconfigure the current boat racking and oar storage configuration. As noted above this will provide the club with approximately 20% more boat racking space.
It is also envisaged that the space between Melbourne and RRC may allow for some external storage allowing older less used fleet to move outside again freeing up rack space within the shed for newer fleet.
Who will occupy the remaining three boat bays?
MLC will occupy the two ‘new’ boat bays, allowing them to consolidate their fleet which is currently stored in other sheds and at the school.
At this time no decision has been made regarding who will occupy the fourth bay.
Discussions are underway with parties that have expressed interest.  In assessing which choice to make the management committee is bound to choose what it believes is in the best interest of the club.
On what terms will the fourth bay be leased?
As discussed above, discussions regarding a tenant for the third boat bay are still being worked through and no confirmed decision has been made at this stage.
However some of the terms that the committee wish to pursue with the parties that have expressed interest include:

  • Willingness to accept RRCs proposed terms of sub-lease, e.g. offering a 5 year term with the following options of – 5 + 5 + 6 years
    This will allow both parties, RRC and the tenant,  the opportunity to consider whether they wish to execute the options. The committee believes this provides RRC with a great deal of flexibility allowing for the club to reassess its needs at each 5 year term, such as whether more boat storage is required for RRC fleet.
  • Willingness to make a long term financial commitment and payment of an annual fee, generating regular and consistent cash flow for the club
  • RRCs assessment of our ability to create a constructive day to day and management relationship with the tenant.

Will the membership be consulted on the tenant that will occupy the fourth boat bay?
The committee will not be canvassing member opinion about the tenant for the final bay as this is not a robust process for selecting a tenant.  The committee has established criteria, as described above, such as:

  • Willingness to accept RRC’s proposed terms of sub-lease;
  • Willingness to make a long term financial commitment; and
  • RRC’s assessment of our ability to create a constructive day to day and management relationship with the tenant.

Redevelopment FAQ – New Facilities

Will RRC members have to share the changing rooms with other tenants?
As shown on the proposed floor plan the new clubhouse will comprise three changing rooms – two existing and new one. The new changing room will be allocated to MLC for the exclusive use of their rowers. Any other tenants would use the existing club change rooms.
Will members be able to use the gym when there is a function in the hall?
It is our belief that as a result of the redevelopment, club members will gain greater access to the club’s facilities. The gym will allow members to train while functions and/or educational activities are underway in the hall space.    The club will continue to raise operational, fleet, maintenance, and future redevelopment funds from function hire; as such members will be asked to refrain from entering the hall while a function is underway.
The exact interaction with the 4th bay tenant and 1st floor facilities is unknown at this time because this tenant has not yet been determined.
Will RRC members be able to use the MLC education space?
At this stage it is anticipated that when MLC isn’t using the educational space, it will be made available to club members if the main hall is in use by another party.
Given neither the club nor MLC have had such a facility before it is likely that how we envisage this working will need adjustment overtime.

Redevelopment FAQ – Building Works

When will the building works begin and how long will they take?

Our building permit expires on 9 October 2012, therefore the club intends to commence building before that date.

Until a builder is engaged we do not know when the building works will be completed. However it is anticipated to take between 8-10 months, subject to variations etc.


Will the existing parts of the shed be upgraded?

Hopefully! Ultimately what we do to

the existing shed will depend on the funds available; however it is very likely that any updates will be done incrementally.

It is intended that the existing changing rooms will receive a minor touch up – painting and replacement of hand basins etc – however the kitchen and bar will stay as is.

Given the club will increase in size substantially and comprise a large outdoor area it is anticipated that the demand for hall hires will increase. As such revenue from functions and leasing the fourth bay will provide the club with funds to reinvest into the building.

Will we have to move our boats? And if so where will they be stored?

At this stage it is not anticipated that boats will have to be relocated from the shed for the whole build phase. The majority of works will occur on the ‘new’ side of the building however we will have to move boats when the stairwell at the front of the shed is relocated.

Last time the club renovated boats were temporarily stored outside and on trailers. The committee will finalise arrangements once the builder is appointed and timeframes are known.

Will we be able to still use the shed and facilities during the building works?

Most likely yes. However until a builder is engaged and the program of works put together we will not know what space may or may not be useable.

Last time the club renovated, which included the changing rooms, members were able to use the facilities off neighbouring clubs. We have already received offers to host our members again should the need arise. The committee will keep you informed as the project progresses and what options have been secured.

Redevelopment FAQ – Finance

How is the club financing the redevelopment project?
The costs for the project are currently being finalised but it is anticipated to cost between $2 and $2.5 million. These costs will predominantly be met by MLC, who are effectively making an upfront payment for their two boat bays and use of the first floor facilities, rather than paying an annual fee.
Funds allocated toward the project by RRC include donations (approx $6,000 as of today), and club funds put aside for this purpose ($110,000).
No funding will be provided by government to this project. In exchange for this the club will continue on a community lease with negligible rental and will be allowed to retain full control over use of funds raised from the redeveloped building – function hire and future bay lease fees are of particular interest.
How can members contribute to the redevelopment funds?
Cash flow for the club is going to be even more important over the next 18-24 months as we will be required to pay a number of large invoices. The pre-building costs for this project total over $250,000.
There are a number of ways that members can contribute to the project, the easiest being to pay all fees on time. In fact as an incentive if you pay your membership fee before 30 June you will receive a $25 discount. Other include:

  • Making a tax deductible donation to the RRC redevelopment fund through the ASF (insert link to form)
  • Running a fundraising event/drive

Redevelopment FAQ – Lease and Sub-lease

When will the club have a new lease?
Over the last few months, RRC along with all the other clubs in the precinct have been working with the City of Melbourne (CoM) to negotiate a new 21 year lease term.
On 29 May CoM Council passed a resolution to enter into head leases with the existing seven lease holders in the rowing precinct and then enter into sub-leases via delegation with any sub-tenants.
The CoMs intention to enter into the new leases now needs to be publically advertised for 28 days. Subject to any feedback and responses required, the leases will return to a council meeting for final endorsement/ratification. The documents are then provided to the Department off Sustainability and Environment who are responsible for executing the head leases on behalf of the state.
This process may take a bit of time – therefore the committee do not expect to receive a signed lease before August/September 2012.
Can MLC sub-lease their space to another sub-tenant?
Under the new arrangements all leases, whether head or sub leases, will be entered into between CoM and the tenant. As such MLC or any other tenants would require the approval of CoM.
While this has not been a problem at RRC it will avoid the risk of sub-tenants, and sub-tenants of theirs, letting the facilities to anyone else without the knowledge or control by either RRC or CoM.
What is the renewed tenancy period for MLC?
MLC have been offered a further 21 year lease with RRC, for two boat bays.
Cost for the redevelopment project (currently estimated at between $2 and $2.5 million) will predominately be met by MLC, who are effectively making an upfront payment for their two boat bays and use of the first floor facilities, rather than paying an annual fee over the 21 year period.
Further information on the project’s finances can be found in the “Finance” section of this document.
Is there an upper limit on the number of members/rowers a sub-tenant can have at the club at a time?
Our sub-lease agreements will not limit the number of rowers at the rowing club at one time.
We will agree a maximum number of rowers with our sub-tenants, however the primary mechanism for ensuring that RRC and our sub-tenants have reasonable expectations and relations is through a code of conduct and regular management meetings.