Braddon developer Nik Bulum reveals plans for Canberra City Bowls Club

Braddon developer Nik Bulum reveals plans for Canberra City Bowls Club

A new resort-style pool, free outdoor cinema, day spa and boutique hotel are all slated as part of a new development for the inner north.

Developer Nik Bulum has revealed initial plans for the Canberra City Bowls Club site, which he purchased in June.

Nik Bulum at the Canberra City Bowling Club site.

Nik Bulum at the Canberra City Bowling Club site.Credit:Jay Cronan

He says the new precinct will be a "village within a suburb", featuring a two-storey boutique hotel with a restaurant, day spa and large function space fitting up to 600 people. The restaurant will spill out onto a pool and bar, which will be open to the public, with private cabanas that can be hired.

One of the bowling greens will be retained as an alfresco eating area with an outdoor cinema screen that will show free films.


Food van village The Hamlet will also relocate to the venue, with added food outlets, seating and outdoor heating, and Mr Bulum also plans a classic milk bar with jaffles and shakes.

There will also be an underground car park with up to 300 spaces to help ease some of the congestion on Elder Street outside Ainslie School.

While development on the 10,000 square metre plot isn't due to commence until late next year, Mr Bulum will kick off with a temporary dining project in October.

Together with the team behind Brodburger, Mr Bulum will open Bonkers, a "little taste of what will be coming".

Housed in the existing Canberra City Bowls Club building, the casual venue will serve '80s food. Think homemade chiko rolls, macaroni cheese, crab sandwiches and the classic '80s cheese plate.

"We want to take a little bit of fun out of the food industry and food bloggers and all that sort of thing," he said.

"We just want to make it daggy, fun, amazing taste, non pretentious. You know when food was fun and no one had to sit there and give it a rating?"

"We've got a coffee called 'It's Complicated', and it's basically the almond, decaf, chai – we're just making fun of everything instead of it all being uptight."

The venue will also make the most of the existing bowling greens, and you can dine under the stars on a picnic rug.

As for the remainder of the site, Mr Bulum plans to hold consultation sessions with the community in a fortnight to determine the best use for the rest of the space.

"It's an inner suburb precinct and I want to do something special and I'd like the community to support it. So the last thing I want to do is something that they won't interact with and engage with," he said.

"People hold important information whether they're whingeing or they're saying something positive, it's still important to listen to and that's what I want there."

Mr Bulum is also currently working on Braddon mixed residential and commercial developments Palko, Nibu and Yamaroshi, and will release new project Branx, located at the current Hamlet block, in the near future.

Jil Hogan is an food and lifestyle reporter at The Canberra Times.

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