$300k on offer for Wollongong's Crown Street spruce-up

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and the council's economic development manager Mark Grimson outside the newly renovated Jones Dental building in lower Crown Street. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and the council's economic development manager Mark Grimson outside the newly renovated Jones Dental building in lower Crown Street. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Wollongong City Council has called for the next set of Crown Street businesses interested in sprucing up their shops to apply for a share in $300,000 in the next round of its facade rejuvenation program.

The first stage of the project began last year, with 22 property owners given a dollar-for-dollar council contribution of up to $20,000 to upgrade their shopfronts.

Six of the renovations approved in December have been completed.

These include the IMB and Kembla Chambers buildings in the mall, the former Lotus Bookstore, Bank of Queensland and Go-Lo buildings in west Crown Street and Jones Dental at the eastern end of the strip.

According to council documents, three more projects are under way, four were delayed because of mall construction work, five are awaiting heritage exemptions and four have requested a time extension.

Despite the delays, Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery labelled the program a success, saying it was helping attract visitors.

"This program has seen property owners invest in their shop facades which helps to create a visually pleasing and an interesting Crown Street," he said.

Those who received money in the first round committed to spend more than $650,000 of their own.

According to the council's economic modelling of direct and indirect flow-on effects including the use of contractors, it estimated this investment would generate $2.1 million of economic activity.

Economic development manager Mark Grimson said the program was designed to complement the mall refurbishment.

"We had more applicants than we had funds available last time round, and we've already had some strong interest from those that missed out.

"All of this is about trying to add to the vibrancy of our city and encourage people to come and spend more time in our CBD."

He said the second round would be complete by the end of 2015.

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