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A warehouse in an industrial area of Sydney’s western suburbs will be converted for an unlikely use – a 24-hour badminton facility with no employees or queues.
The 1162-square-metre centre at 196 Newton Road, Wetherill Park, will have seven courts, and will be staffed initially before a trial of the unmanned system begins.
“We want to automate the whole thing,” The Badminton Club founder Dev Jaiswal said.
Users will get access to the CCTV-monitored courts through an online booking system which generates a pin code to input at the door. The code then unlocks access and switches on the lights for the players.
“If you think of a 24-hour gym, the equipment’s there, people come in and they leave. It’s the same sort of concept here because once you have the courts, everything is fixed, they just come in, they play and they leave.”
Mr Jaiswal, who has been playing the sport for 27 years, said the idea for The Badminton Club came to him when he was looking for a dedicated venue to play close to home but realised there were none.
“Most other sports centres that have badminton facilities are focused in the Strathfield and Homebush area,” he said.
“(But) there really isn’t something catered to western Sydney and there’s a lot of people here who love the sport.”
There are 13 badminton associations in NSW, while the state-recognised Badminton NSW has 2164 registered members who play in tournaments. More than 170 countries in the world have a governing body for the sport.
Despite his grand plans, the 39-year-old entrepreneur, who runs an online business, was rejected by all the previous landlords he approached, as they lacked confidence in his idea and preferred traditional wholesaler or manufacturer-type tenants.
“It was definitely frustrating as it was already quite a challenge in a very limited market to find the right venue where it ticked all the boxes for our badminton-specific requirements,” he said, adding that he was “ecstatic and eager to get the ball rolling” once they were given the green light for the venue.
Leasing agent Aymen Sobbi, from LJ Hooker Commercial Silverwater, said the warehouse owner had been supportive of Mr Jaiswal’s idea.
“(The landlord) saw how passionate Dev was about getting this done, he had a lot of trust in him and he’s basically given him an opportunity to take this next step in his life.”
Mr Jaiswal’s lease on the property is for initial five-year term with a five-year option, with the gross annual rental at $163,842, or $141 a square metre, Mr Sobbi said.
“The lack of supply to purchase has driven the price of rentals up (along the M4 corridor)…Just this year we’ve seen the rentals go up by quite a bit,” he said.
He noted that demand was increasing in suburbs such as Wetherill Park, Smithfield and Eastern Creek because of the rezoning in the south Sydney areas around Alexandria and Waterloo that was driving occupiers with bigger budgets out to the western suburbs.
“They’re basically snapping up every building as if it’s cheap.”
The Badminton Club is scheduled to start operating in early December.