An iconic Australian Jewish social club was sold for $17 million.
Most of the 800 members at an emergency general meeting on Thursday night voted to sell the Hakoah Club to the Toga Group. The club near Bondi Beach was in the middle of an 11th-hour bidding war between property developers.
Built in 1974 by then-President Frank Lowy, the chairman of Westfield shopping malls, a bomb exploded in the club’s parking lot in 1982. No one was injured and no one was caught, although Palestinian terrorists were accused of masterminding the attack. Another bomb exploded at the Israeli Consulate on the same day.
The club has hosted prime ministers and premiers as well as weddings and bar mitzvahs.
In 1995, media magnate Kerry Packer suffered a heart attack there.
Club President Phil Filler said Hakoah’s membership had dwindled to below 10,000, it had a debt of $2.2 million and it was losing about $18,000 a week.
“The club is bleeding to death,” Filler said. “In order to protect the capital of the club we need to sell it.”
The board hopes to use the money from the sale to find new premises. A hotel will probably be built in its place.
Hakoah, Hebrew for strength, was founded in 1938 as a soccer club by European Jewish immigrants.