More than $71 million worth of development plans have been given the green light by the Joint Regional Planning panel as it met in Wollongong on Wednesday.
The first project approved would see the hole in the ground on Regent St, Wollongong, transformed into a 22-storey building with 151 apartments atop several storeys of commercial space.
It would be, its proponent said, the largest building in Wollongong, and would bring a welcome transformation to the top of the hill where Regent St become Rawson St in the CBD.
A decade in the making, the site won approval under former developer David Shalala for a hotel. But it changed hands, was redesigned, and the hotel plan dropped.
The new design is by architect Tony Owen Partners for Chinese-backed Supomme Property Development Pty Ltd. Director Kevin Xu was at the JRPP meeting to see the outcome for his $43.5 million plan. He said Mr Shalala is no longer involved.
At the JRPP meeting two representatives of NSW Ports argued that the Wollongong City Council planner’s assessment of noise levels did not properly consider how loud freight trains running at night could be.
The Ports staffers argued council’s assessment was only based on ground level noise measurements, and a more thorough assessment was needed for higher storeys.
The JRPP agreed with architect Tony Owen that it would be unfair to impose a new higher standard of noise impacts than other buildings received. But this is clearly an issue NSW Ports will pursue in the future.
The JRPP approved the building, with a condition that the acoustic report be reviewed to better determine acoustic levels above existing buildings near the site.
The other development to get the tick was a $27.7 million seniors development planned by IRT at Kanahooka.
The retirement living and care group’s expansion continues, with a village of 100 self-contained units to be built on low-lying land north side of Kanahooka Rd near the M1 Princes Motorway.
The area is a floodplain so it will need to be built up with up to 2m of fill before housing can go in.
The JRPP said the plans should have included a vegetation management plan for the balance of the land that was zoned E3 environmental management and identified as environmentally sensitive. It approved the development with a condition that such a plan be developed.