How high will GPT's West Keira project go?

GPT'S West Keira development could be as tall as 80 metres under council regulations, making it the tallest building in the CBD.

The bulk of the GPT West Keira site has an "AB" building height rating under the Wollongong Local Environmental Plan, which allows for a building height of 80 metres, dependent on setbacks, overshadowing and other issues.

It is one of only two areas in the CBD with such a height zoning, the other being just east of the rail line and taking in areas of Railway Parade and Rawson Street.

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The only higher zoning is along the southern side of Crown Street from the mall to the rail line, where buildings can be as high as 120 metres.

The remainder of the GPT site is zoned "U2", allowing for a building height of 32 metres.

Artist's impressions of possible development at the site that appeared in yesterday's Mercury showed two multi-storey structures above the shopping centre.

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The images were included in a Wollongong City Council business paper considering alfresco dining and have since been removed at GPT's request.

GPT yesterday said the images did not reflect any actual design plans the group had.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said Wollongong City Council was aware that GPT was considering further development on top of the central shopping centre which is now under construction.

Cr Bradbery said he understood this would comprise office space and a residential component. He said council was also aware that the finished development would be quite large.

"It has to be substantial to sustain that sort of cost and development on GPT," Cr Bradbery said.

"So it's not going to be small, it's going to be a substantial development. The idea is that retail space is really just the pedestal on which these towers will rise.

"It has to be a certain height to be sustainable. The office space and retail space need to be of a certain critical mass before you can sustain residential space as well."

Cr Bradbery said he was pleased with the idea of offices and apartments being added to the GPT site as it furthered council's plans to bring more people back into the CBD.

He said it was another instance of the increase in medium-to high-density living in and around the CBD, pointing to the high-rises at North Wollongong and the apartment complex on the old Dairy Farmers site in Gladstone Avenue.

"We can't continue with urban sprawl," Cr Bradbery said.

"Infrastructure costs are so high, so we've got to build around existing infrastructure.

"We need to get people living in spaces where they can walk to their shops, their amenities and things of that nature.

"These factors are now coming together in our master planning and thinking about the direction of the centre of Wollongong."

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