Bondi View

Hemmes at the ready: community-focused revamp for Coogee

Justin hemmes

Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes will unveil his latest acquisition, the ‘Coogee Pavilion’, next month. Formerly known as the Beach Palace Hotel, the property covers approximately 1500 square metres and spans three levels.

Mr Hemmes said the venue would be very different from a pub or hotel and would have a strong community focus.

“We want to make it more of a destination for locals … a venue that caters for all occasions,” he said. “We are going to make it comfortable no matter what your mood or your dress attire is.”

Mr Hemmes promised not to upset the community by attracting late-night drinking, even though the venue is outside the jurisdiction of the state’s lockout laws.

“I want to make this a venue that residents are proud to call their own … I’m not going to be upsetting the locals by providing late-night binge drinking,” he said.

Randwick Labor councillor Tony Bowen has congratulated the efforts Mr Hemmes has put into allowing the community to have a say in how the Pavilion will represent Coogee, even though community consultation was not mandatory in this case.

“The owner is making use of existing rights in relation to that property, [but he] has spoken to the local precinct committee,” said Cr Bowen.

However, Cr Bowen was also wary of the danger of alcohol-fuelled violence the new development may attract.

“That’s something council will monitor in conjunction with local police,” he said.

“The people of Coogee have had significant improvements [in the rates of alcohol-fuelled violence] over the last few years and we wouldn’t want to see those lost.”

Randwick Liberal councillor Brendan Roberts agreed, saying that the possibility of alcohol-fuelled violence was a serious concern.

“I understand [Mr Hemmes is] going to make it more of a food destination, so it’s not going to be like another Coogee Bay Hotel,” he said.

“[However] if there is night-time alcohol-fuelled violence … then I’ll be first on the phone to the premier, asking for the [lockout] regulations to be extended to Coogee.”

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