Essendon will honour its rich heritage in its new atrium reception, retail and café areas as part of phase one of the $21 million expansion of the NEC Hangar.
The atrium reception, retail and café areas are on track for completion as early as February.
The new café will be named Jack’s after the legendary Jack Jones, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 95. Jones is one of many club greats who will be honoured in the café area situated next to the club’s new Bomber Shop, which will boast a new retro look and feel as the Bombers celebrate their 150th year in 2022.
The club’s 16 VFL/AFL premiership trophies will be housed in a new feature wall display alongside a floor to ceiling LED wall strip representing the club’s sash. The sash in the atrium space and throughout the development will be installed on a 24-degree angle to commemorate the universally loved Jones, who wore No.24.
The premiership cups showcase will be enhanced by interactive display tablets allowing visitors to delve deeper into the club’s premiership history and statistics. An NEC video projection on the wall above the cups will also play highlight reels and content relating to each premiership.
"We’ve focused a lot on integrating heritage elements into what is quite a modern building design. Some of these nods to our history are more obvious than others, but they all play an important part in creating points of connection and nostalgia for our fans and other visitors to the NEC Hangar,” general manager of strategic operations and community Jess Newman said.
“We’ve set out to commemorate our 150th year and ensure we celebrate our club’s rich heritage and culture, something I know our staff, players and members are incredibly proud of.
“With the retail shop, we have redesigned the Bomber Shop logo using a small Bomber plane from one of our retro logos. The change rooms will be covered in the iconic WEG premiership posters and all the wall branding will continue with this retro look and feel.
“In the café space we have installed a wallpaper with an illustration artwork depicting the top 15 iconic Essendon people, moments and symbols. The line art illustrations are slightly abstract but will be very clear to any diehard Essendon fan, like the Sheedy jacket wave, Michael Long’s running goal in the 1993 Grand Final and other moments that are synonymous with the club.
“For the café name itself, we are commemorating an incredible Essendon person in Jack Jones. Jack’s will incorporate a few fun menu items to pay homage to some of Jack’s favourite morning teas at the club, of which he was very fond of sharing with staff and players.”
The first phase of the NEC Hangar expansion will also include dedicated women’s football facilities, and dormitory accommodation for Paralympics Australia para-athletes and members of the club’s Next Generation Academy and associated community leagues.
The club has already delivered an expanded AFL player lounge and nutrition kitchen, AFL meeting rooms and VFL change room to add to its current AFL training facilities.
Phase two, which was recently funded by the State Government, is due to be completed in mid-2021. It will include a sports museum, community education hub and health clinic, and community change rooms.
Essendon wishes to thank Harris HMC, Jackson Architects, the Federal and State Governments, extended project team and its generous project donors for their ongoing commitment in bringing the club’s vision to life.