It seems quite a while ago now that the giant GPT Group was criticised for its tardiness in committing to its $200million West Keira shopping complex.
Much of that criticism came from people desperate to see the six-storey project built, it having long been mooted as the saviour for Wollongong’s struggling central business district.
They need not have worried. West Keira is now well and truly under way and GPT has become a model citizen.
In fact the release of a major review into Wollongong’s planning guidelines shows GPT is serious about Wollongong.
The $400,000 review, put together for GPT by world-renowned urban planners CIVITAS, will please many of the critics who regard our city centre as sleazy, MacCabe Park as neglected and our leaders lacking vision.
The review is exciting and reveals a future that could help turn the city’s fortunes around.
Under the GPT review much of the city’s revitalisation would be anchored on seven new
city character precincts called Rail Station, North Keira, Crossroads, MacCabe Park, Lower Crown, Civic and University Seaside Village.
We can’t help but agree that a vibrant Wollongong could be centred on a University of Wollongong ‘‘learning, entertainment and beachfront neighbourhood’’ and a revitalised MacCabe Park surrounded by high-rise residential accommodation, a la New York Central Park.
It is exciting stuff and all of it deserves serious attention as Wollongong attempts to position itself for the future.