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Developer ‘will spend millions’

Saturday, 12th July, 2008

A Mildura developer is counting on local support to help build a five-star hotel/motel and casino at the golf course, saying it would bring immense tourism benefits to the city. It was confirmed yesterday that Tony Carrazza, principal of Dialena Nominees, had bought the golf course for an undisclosed sum. Mr Carrazza told BDT he plans to first build a “fairly large” hotel/motel complex there, as well as upgrade the golf course and the clubrooms.

The redevelopment will also include a casino and luxury condominiums, he said. Mr Carrazza declined to say how much he paid for the golf course or how much would be invested in the project. He did say investment would be in the tens of millions of dollars. The golf course was acquired from MSB, which bought it over five years ago and has since worked to find a developer. “Things take time and sometimes they don’t happen but hopefully we can be at the right place at the right time to make this happen,” Mr Carrazza said. “You can’t look at the past, you’ve got to look to the future. “If the people of Broken Hill support me, I’ll try my hardest to achieve something there. ”Tourism was the project’s major driver and the fact that Broken Hill appeared to be moving ahead, according to Mr Carrazza. “I hope it’s going to go ahead and when things go ahead, you need facilities. “You’ve got to look to the future. It’s a facility we need...it will be a great thing for Broken Hill.”

Mr Carrazza’s vision included a casino, but he may have to wait until 2019 before being able to apply for a licence. The State Government last year granted Sydney’s Star City Casino exclusivity for 12 years. It means no other casinos can be established in NSW in that time. Mr Carrazza said a casino would give Broken Hill an international profile. “Without a doubt...a Broken Hill casino would be unique and would boost the tourist side of Broken Hill immensely.” He said he believed he had a good chance of getting a casino licence. “With the backing of Broken Hill people, I think I’ve got a great chance because these things are well publicised and certainly would put Broken Hill on the map.”

The proximity of the racecourse was also a bonus, said Mr Carrazza. “I believe that works in well, and being so close together they work in each other’s favour rather than against,” he said. He plans to meet the racecourse Trust to discuss its ideas for future development. “I’ll see what their ideas are and put forward my ideas and anything that can benefit both, I’ll certainly endeavour to go ahead with.” Mr Carrazza comes to the city with a lifetime of experience in the hospitality industry in and around Mildura, including housing subdivisions. He is also behind plans to turn the former Rugby League Park into a housing estate with up to 100 houses. His company bought the site from Silverton Incorporated recently.

The project was slowly progressing with a development application to sub-divide the area into individual housing blocks nearing completion, he said. Mr Carrazza assured Golf Club members they had nothing to worry about regarding yesterday’s purchase. “We will endeavour to work for the best for both.” Golf Club President Gary Barraclough said he hoped development at the golf course would now proceed. “I hope the incoming owner will be looking after the course and hopefully provide us with an improved golf course.” He said it was “business as usual” and members won’t be affected by the sale. “We have a registered lease for about 100 years, that the Golf Club remains on course and operates games of golf. “We will continuing operating the golf course...as far as the club is concerned, there will be no impact on our competitions, they’ll still run.” He said the club would have to talk to the new owner about course maintenance. “We haven’t reached an formal agreement on when or how Mr Carrazza will take over maintenance of the golf course,” he said. “At the present time we are responsible and when he takes over, we will have to discuss it. There’s employees and machinery involved.” Mr Barraclough welcomed Mr Carrazza’s ideas. “I think it’s an under utilised resource and that would be a terrific starting point for attracting visitors to the town.

“I think it has a lot of merit and congratulate him on his vision.” Mr Barraclough said development of the golf course was an opportunity to build on Broken Hill’s fame and its diversification into tourism. He didn’t envisage, however, that it would involve expanding the 18-hole layout.

“Eighteen holes is enough and I think we an certainly improve on it, but I don’t see development of any more than 18 holes. "Mr Barraclough said the club board would meet Mr Carrazza soon to discuss the future of the course. Mr Carrazza said it may be six to eight months before work starts on the redevelopment. “We’ll try to move as quick as we can but there are a lot of process to go through,” he said. “The quicker the better.”

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