Over the Christmas/New Year break, Campus Living Villages (CLV) signed a Heads of Agreement with UNSW that transferred operations on the White House to UNSW Estate Management, as confirmed to Tharunka by CLV’s marketing team. This comes after renovations and refurbishments were made on the site around August of last year.
UNSW Estate Management has confirmed with Tharunka their intention to turn the venue into some sort of proprietary establishment once again – but indicated they are undecided on its new nature.
“Prior to the decision on use, the property condition will be assessed and scope of works completed to ensure the buildings are in good condition, compliant and fit for purpose,” explained Susan O’Brien, Senior Asset Manager at Estate Management.
All facilities within the White House remain untouched from when it was open. While Estate Management hasn’t ruled out leasing the property to a company outside the food and beverage industry, such businesses are presumably the most amiable to its facilities.
“(The operations of the White House) will be determined as part of the negotiations with any incoming Lessee and subject to terms of the lease, liquor license conditions (if applicable) and in consultation with the surrounding accommodation and other stakeholders,” O’Brien told us.
But these plans have been in the works for some time. An anonymous tip-off reached Tharunka in August claiming to have overheard construction workers explain to one another that UNSW ‘was looking for tenders to take over the space’ as they were passing by. Estate management only clarified with us in late January that this was true.
Tharunka reached out to Estate Management in August for clarification. They amiably organised a conference call with us, but in conversation, were unwilling to give us any information. It was only in late January that they confirmed the truth behind the Heads of Agreement and the seeking of tender.
We put several questions last year to an Estate Management representative, who asked not to be named, including of their general plans for the venue for 2023, if tenders were indeed sought after, if the White House retains a liquor license or was intending to reobtain one, what intended operational hours were and more.
The representative flatly declined to comment on any such matter, before asking us to reveal our anonymous source. Most questions were later answered by O’Brien.
CLV operates village accommodation in Australia, the UK and the USA, including UNSW village. It also operated the White House while it was open, presumably due to the venue’s proximity to their accommodation buildings.
Estate Management failed to confirm whether the White House will reopen in 2023.
More to come.
Editors: Anh Noel and Chloe McFadden