Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has likened ongoing construction work in Crown Street Mall and Keira Street to childbirth, saying although it has been tough for business owners, the end result will be worth it.
Speaking at the City Centre Business and Property Owners Forum on Tuesday night, Cr Bradbery said he could understand business owners' frustration with the ongoing construction.
He said many business owners were asking him when the works would finally be finished.
"I've witnessed two of my sons being born - I'm glad I didn't go through the experience but I understand from my wife's perspective there's quite a bit of pain," he said.
"But it was interesting to see the smile on her face when the child was born.
"I don't pretend for a moment it [the construction work] has been easy - it's been challenging both for the retailers and for us."
Work on Keira Street for the GPT development is due to be completed by late September, while Crown Street Mall refurbishments are expected to be completed by the end of October.
Cr Bradbery said the Crown Street Mall project had been hampered due to a complex system of underground utilities.
"[There were] 70 Telstra pits in that mall, asbestos pits underneath the surface - it was like spaghetti with the utilities," he said. "Some were mapped, others we discovered, things were just buried so it's been an engineering challenge.
"We're not through the woods yet ... I agree it has been painful."
However, Cr Bradbery said he was excited about the future of Wollongong's CBD.
"We're still on time and on track to get it completed," he said.
"I think we're in for an exciting time in Wollongong because I think this will stimulate more enthusiasm and more optimism."