Wollongong city centre transforms.
The Wollongong city centre is undergoing significant change with a boom in major projects and private sector development transforming the city.
Over the past 4 years, the city centre has seen over $1.3 billion worth of investment in major development projects completed or currently underway, with a further $300 million in the pipeline. Major projects as part of this investment include:
- The $200 million upgrade to Wollongong Central by GPT, which included an additional 18,000m² of specialty stores, a new supermarket, department store and 650 car spaces. A further $93 million will be invested by GPT in 2017, as it works with department store David Jones in developing a world-class store with the first of their new concept food-halls to be opened outside of Bondi Junction.
- The opening of the new $120 million Wollongong Private Hospital, operated by Ramsey Health Care, offering a full range of medical, surgical and maternity services.
- The $134 million expansion of the Wollongong Public Hospital.
In addition to these major projects, there has been significant interest from private sector investors. Since 2014, the Wollongong city centre has seen 2,113 total dwellings approved in the B3 (commercial core) and B4 (mixed use) zones. Of these, around 342 have been completed, with more than 1,000 expected to be completed in the next 24 months. As a result of these developments, the city centre population is forecast to increase by 150% over the next 2-3 years.
Some of the larger developments due for completion over the next 24 months have sold out or are close to being sold out in the residential space, whilst tenders are open for businesses interested in utilising the new commercial space that will become available.
Combined with the inclusion of the mixed use commercial space, these changes are helping to create a vibrant city centre that is not only the employment hub of the region, but is now also an increasingly cosmopolitan home for its residents. With the city centre seeing over 65 new small bars/cafes opening up over the last 3 years, the development of the city centre as a lifestyle destination is set to continue.
Mark Grimson, Economic Development Manager at Wollongong Council, is pleased to see the significant changes in the city centre and the influx of investment and interest from investors and residents alike. “Recent major upgrades have led to an increase of investor confidence in the CBD. The upgrade to Wollongong Central by GPT, the new Wollongong Private Hospital and the expansion of the Wollongong Public Hospital, have created a flow-on interest from investors that has helped take the Wollongong city centre into the future” he said. “We are seeing additional interest in commercial opportunities over the increased vibrancy, with demand for residential remaining strong on the back of lifestyle factors and greater affordability when compared to Sydney”.