IRT plans Wollongong CBD complex

An artist's impression of the complex.
An artist's impression of the complex.

Retirement housing group IRT has flagged plans to expand its inner-city stock, lodging a proposal to build a $33 million apartment complex in the centre of Wollongong.

If approved, the new eight-storey independent living development would be built next to IRT's existing Howard Court apartment building at the corner of Stewart and Kembla streets.

According to plans lodged by TCG Planning, the building would house 75 two and three-bedroom apartments over the six upper levels. There would be two levels of parking on the ground floor and first level for 81 cars.

There would also be a ground level cafe and restaurant, as well as a resident lounge area and four "activity spaces" which could be used to provide a hairdresser and other services.

With NSW Government figures forecasting Wollongong's senior citizen population will rise by 45 per cent by 2026, the new development would help IRT to cater for a growing demand for retirement living units in the inner city.

The Illawarra-based organisation has $170 million worth of projects under way in NSW and Queensland, including an almost-complete $25 million care centre at Tarrawanna.

Documents lodged with Wollongong City Council say the development has a capital investment value of $33.6 million, which means it will be assessed by the Joint Regional Planning Panel.

A two-storey building on the Stewart Street site would need to be partially demolished and trees would also need to be removed to make way for the new building.

The plans describe "Howard Court 2" as a modern complex which would be an asset to Wollongong's rapidly transforming city centre.

"The proposed development provides a significant community benefit through the provision of a central courtyard which provides a visual and pedestrian link from Stewart Street through to Pioneer Park," the plans say.

"[It] is an appropriate outcome for the site given the high density development which currently exists on surrounding land and the anticipated future character of this precinct ..."

According to a colourful description of the development's proposed gardens and design features, it will also offer "surprise vistas" - as well as smells - to "delight" passers-by.

The plans can be seen on the council's website until September 10.


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