Larry Kestelman (pictured, right) – the owner of Australia’s National Basketball League – has employed architect Nonda Katsalidis to redesign Hobart’s Derwent Entertainment Centre.
Mr Kestelman, who co-founded internet company Dodo and is an active apartment developer, agreed with the Glenorchy City Council in April to buy the stadium and a neighbouring nine hectare site known as Wilkinsons Point.
Derwent Entertainment Centre – Tasmania’s largest indoor arena – sits on seven hectares and costs ratepayers more than $1 million per year to upkeep.
Mr Kestelman intends to base a new Tasmanian NBL team out of a refurbished complex.
It is unknown what price Mr Kestelman is paying for the parcels (pictured, top) however the stadium was valued at $18.6 million last year.
The businessman had previously spoken of his intention to recreate a precinct similar to Melbourne Southbank on the Hobart holdings.
Retail and hotels have been mooted as development outcomes.
A ferry has also been proposed.
It is estimated the refurbishment will cost between $150 million and $200 million and create a destination mecca for locals and visitors.
This week, The Mercury is reporting in this item that Mr Kestelman has appointed Melbourne architect Nonda Katsalidis to master-plan the precinct.
Mr Katsalidis worked with businessman and art collector David Walsh to revamp Hobart’s now hugely popular cultural space MONA (Museum of Old and New Art).
“What we need to understand is what we can build as a precinct around the DEC,” Mr Kestelman told The Mercury. “What else can be done as a precinct that makes it commercial viable and makes sure that it’s a vibrant, alive product”.
“So that’s what we’re doing now, we’ve engaged architects, the same architects that have done MONA, and they are currently doing an assessment of Wilkinsons Point and what that should look like”.
Mr Kestelman added that he is working with the business community and “meeting business leaders to understand what do they want out of a team and can that be sustainable, because without corporate support, it won’t happen”.
“I think they are definitely keen, they’re just waiting now to see what the proposals will look like and what we can deliver for them”.