A POPULAR Perth-founded American sports bar venue is one step closer to setting up its newest location in Midland.
The proposal to use the abandoned Spotlight site at 226 Great Eastern Highway for two separate businesses, a Varsity Bar and World Gym, got the City of Swan’s green light at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The $3 million development proposal will now go to an independent panel for final review and approval.
Varsity group director Ben Maher told Echo News the WA-owned company had its eye on Midland for some time.
“Varsity used the downtime during COVID to come up with our network strategic on where we should be best placed when we expand through Perth,” he said.
“We engaged a demographics company and Midland came up as a strong recommendation.
“That aside, we’ve always loved Midland.
“We’ve seen enormous opportunities there, it’s a great market and an exciting area to be a part of.”
The first Varsity opened in 2013 next to the University of WA and continued to grow as a university bar with its third venue located in Waterford close to Curtin University.
The opening of Curtin University’s Midland campus in 2019 may have also helped steer the direction for Varsity’s next American college-style venue.
“It will employ about 60 to 80 staff and we tend to employ local,” he said.
“As well as that we offer a great alternative to the traditional pubs that are out there.
“We have a broad range of appeal from people wanting to watch sports, our nightly specials, quiz nights and great function facilities.”
The Midland Varsity will be the seventh venue to open in Perth with an eighth currently in the works for the old Sizzler Innaloo site.
Not everyone on Swan Council was happy with the decision to recommend the metro-outer Joint Development Assessment Panel approve the application, with three councillors against citing concerns with parking and excessive noise.
Motion mover Cr Rashelle Predovnik said she had spoken with many residents who preferred the area be activated rather than left derelict.
“At the end of the day the JDAP will consider parking, noise and traffic issues,” she said.
“Our decision tonight will send a strong message to investors that we welcome their investment, we support their efforts and we wish them every success.
“We’re talking about a big commercial site being activated again.”
The motion to recommend approval was supported 10/3 with Crs Aaron Bowman, Ian Johnson and Jennifer Catalano against.
By Claire Ottaviano