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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Historic boot factory the perfect fit for future plans

Waverley Council today marked the start of its heritage restoration and upgrade of the Boot Factory building in Bondi Junction with its head contractor Lloyd Group.

The Council is transforming the three-storey Boot Factory building at the rear of Norman Lee Place, 27-33 Spring Street into a civic innovation hub of the future.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, said the innovation hub will support collaboration, the sharing of ideas and partnerships between industry, universities, aligned businesses, innovators, government and the community.

“Our restoration and upgrade project, which showcases our commitment to repurposing old buildings, will breathe new life into this important precinct in Bondi Junction and bring this heritage building into the 21st century to be used by generations to come,” Mayor Masselos said.

An artist’s impression of the Civic Innovation Hub.

The Boot Factory was built in 1892 for William Sidaway and Son who manufactured the popular Sally Smart footwear brand for retailer David Jones.

Following the factory’s closure in 1969, the building served as a base for the Inventors Association of Australia and other community services and organisations.

In 1984, Council acquired the building which is one of the last remaining examples of Victorian industrial architecture in Waverley.

To enhance the restoration of the Boot Factory building, the Council is renovating the adjacent Mill Hill Community Centre, and will connect the two buildings, providing the opportunity to share facilities including the lift and accessible amenities.

“The Boot Factory restoration is one of Council’s key projects for 2021 and aligns with the commitment I made to the residents of Waverley when I was elected to ensure that our Council continues to restore and retain our heritage buildings for innovative future uses for the community,” Mayor Masselos said.

“This project is on time and on budget and a real win for innovation and heritage protection in Waverley.”

General Manager, Lloyd Group, Matt Licuria said the company will carry out restoration words to the roof, masonry perimeter walls, install new floors and a complete interior fit-out over the coming months.

“We’re truly honored to be a part of this iconic project, to breathe a new life into the historic Boot Factory,” Mr Licuria said.

“This project directly aligns with our company values of connecting communities together, and we’re eager to see the cohesion the build will bring together for the residents of Bondi.”

Key features of Council’s restoration and upgrade include:

  • Flexible community spaces on the ground floor and top floor of the Boot Factory and the Mill Hill Community Centre;
  • Upgraded Community and Seniors Centre;
  • A new café at the Spring Street entry to the precinct with street and courtyard presence;
  • Council will also beautify the courtyard in Norman Lee Place.
Artist’s impression of the Norman Lee Place upgrade. 

In 1966, the Boot Factory building was listed as a local heritage item in the Waverley Local Environmental Plan. It has also been classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

The restoration is expected to be completed in March next year.

Community consultation to inform the uses of the civic innovation hub included interviews and roundtables with knowledge and innovations experts from across the country, and focus groups and workshops with local residents including the Mill Hill Precinct and a Youth Summit.

Council says the consultation showed that there was much support and enthusiasm for the Boot Factory to be renovated and reinvigorated as an important local community facility.

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