Revealed: QRU’s $30m vision for Ballymore
REVAMPING jaded Ballymore as a $30 million High Performance Centre and shared home with football is the Queensland Rugby Union's bold vision for the future.
Chief executive Richard Barker said the QRU's priority was guaranteeing a mid-range makeover rather than gambling on an all-or-nothing pitch for a new 20,000-seat stadium.
Transforming Ballymore's outside field into a hub flanked by high-performance facilities, gym-physiotherapy services, administration offices, a rugby museum and a rebuilt McLean Stand is in the proposal.
An artist's impression has been circulated within the QRU and the multi-sport use for men and women has been highlighted at every step.
Barker also revealed two meetings with representatives of the Brisbane City Football Club over the past 10 days had consolidated Ballymore as a preferred venue should they enter an expanded A-League for the 2019-20 season.
"We are enjoying some pretty positive conversations with State Government so there are a few things moving around Ballymore," Barker said.
"We are driving for a High Performance Centre with a revenue stream back to rugby so we are not still talking in 20 years about how Ballymore eats over a $1 million a year in upkeep.
"We are not asking for another major stadium to be built when Suncorp Stadium is one of the best in world sport.
"That said, if we are serious about attracting more events to Queensland, such as the women's World Cups in rugby (2021) and soccer (2023), Brisbane probably needs to cater with another smaller venue."
It may just be that the Ballymore plans are swept up into a perfect storm with the State Government discussing upgraded venue options to compete with rival states who are pinching major sporting events.
"If the State Government has some ideas we are certainly keen to be at the table," Barker said.
"What's important for rugby is Ballymore as a commercial asset and if that's a multi-sport opportunity, that's a terrific outcome.
"We're having talks with Brisbane City and we are committed to how we can work this together."
The McLean Stand overhaul from today's tired, outdated structure would spruce up the main playing venue at Ballymore.
"With a grandstand refurbishment, you could think of hosting tier-two rugby Tests, A-League soccer and maybe a Super Rugby game," Barker said.
Barker yesterday announced a charity partnership for the QRU and Reds to aid the Breast Cancer Network Australia.