Site's previous development plans came unstuck

THE Wollongong central business district site earmarked for a 4.5-star hotel and residential complex has had a history of failed development in the past decade.

The site was home to Illawarra fine dining institution the Charcoal Tavern and plans to build a high-rise development began in 2004, when a Sydney developer revealed a proposal for a 14-storey residential block.

This was approved, but heritage concerns about the tavern building delayed construction and the site was put on the market for $3 million a year later.

A consortium, Wollongong Central Towers, then bought four neighbouring Regent Street lots in 2005 and bought the tavern site for $3.5 million in October 2007.

Developer David Shalala first floated plans to build a 27-tower complex on the site in 2006.

The building, which like the current plans was named Regency Towers and designed by PRD Architects, was scheduled for completion by the end of 2009.

However, in 2008, Mr Shalala said finance had fallen through, about the same time GPT put its West Keira plans on hold for two years and the company behind the $300 million Gravity hotel and shopping complex was placed into administration.

Approval for the 27-level building lapsed, but the council approved revised plans to build a 23-storey complex in 2009.

The site was sold to the current owners for $3.5 million in late 2010.

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