GPT plans rooftop bar, cafe for Crown Street

Potential: The dilapidated building next to GPT's $200 million Wollongong Central expansion could be transformed into a three-level cafe and rooftop bar under the firm's new plans. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Potential: The dilapidated building next to GPT's $200 million Wollongong Central expansion could be transformed into a three-level cafe and rooftop bar under the firm's new plans. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The narrow triangular block at the corner of Crown Street and Crown Lane could get a new lease of life, as site owners GPT Group have unveiled plans to turn the rundown building into a cafe and rooftop bar.

According to documents lodged with Wollongong City Council, the shopping centre developers hope to transform the vacant structure into a three-level "sophisticated cafe and lounge bar".

The dilapidated site was set to be demolished as part of the original mall expansion, however GPT successfully lodged a modification to keep the block last April.

GPT development manager Steve Turner said his company had decided to save the property after changes to the design of the neighbouring $200 million Wollongong Central expansion.

"I think we've all become quite attached to the building, and with the little Otis Bar - which subsequently became the Little Prince - we all went there and got to experience the atmosphere, so we thought it was way too good an opportunity to give up," he said.

The premises would be leased and fitted out by a company called Opes Entertainment and managed by Hotel Illawarra licensee Dwayne Robinson, according to the documents.

Mr Turner said he was happy to be working with a business with a history of running a Wollongong hotel and hoped the new bar would help link Wollongong Central with Crown Street.

"We're introducing 10 new tenancies along Keira Street and I think this property is going to work really well with those," he said.

"This also shows the potential of some of those much-maligned buildings along west Crown Street - what you can do with them and what sort of operators you can attract.

"I absolutely believe it will have a domino effect, that might not happen overnight ... but I often liken that strip to King Street in Newtown, and it'll be there eventually."

The proposed ground floor cafe would seat 34 people, while the first floor would have cocktail bars and seating for 83. The rooftop terrace would seat 100 people in covered and uncovered areas and include an outdoor cocktail station.

The bar would stay open until 1am seven nights a week, with the rooftop closing at midnight.

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