Full-blown construction of the much-anticipated Parq on Flinders development is scheduled to begin in early 2018.
Late last year, the proposal for 221 apartments and a number of commercial sites was approved on the triangular site between Keira, Flinders and Campbell streets, Wollongong.
An $88 million complex, Parq on Flinders will have four separate residential towers of seven and eight storeys.
Apartments will be built around an internal, landscaped courtyard the size of two residential blocks.
For several years, the huge development site was arguably Wollongong’s most controversial block of land.
It was once flagged for the corruption-laden ‘Quattro’ development.
Wollongong City Council bought the site for $5.2 million in 2011, with plans to clean it up and use it as a temporary parking space.
It then called for EOI from developers, and a year later the Gateway consortium lodged a $135 million proposal named ‘Bass and Flinders Gateway’.
Developers failed to convince the JRPP of its merits in 2014.
Colliers International Wollongong are the managing agents for the Parq development, assisting developers BRDB.
Preliminary works such as geo-technical work will begin in the coming weeks, with full-blown construction due to kick off early next year.
A sod-turning ceremony took place on Friday, including a “symbolic” planting of an Illawarra flame tree.
BRDB’s CEO group corporate Kajendra Pathmanathan said 114 apartments had been sold thus far.
BRDB’s chief operating officer, property division Christopher Manivannan acknowledged the site’s troubled history. “But we have to look for the future – and the future looks very bright indeed,” he said.
Simon Kersten, Colliers’ managing director Wollongong said the developer is fully committed to build the project.
“It’s happening… It’s been a big snowball to get going, but now that it’s going it’s really going fast and the buyers are super keen.”
Mr Kersten said the majority of buyers so far had been from the Illawarra.
“We’ve got a few from out of area, but predominantly local,” he said.
“At the start of the project we did some first home buyer incentives, and we allowed the first home buyers to pay their deposit off over two years.
“So maybe 50 first home buyers have bought in this project so far.
“Our cheapest one-bedroom at the moment starts at $429,000, our cheapest two-bedroom starts at $639,000 and our three-bedrooms are close to $800,000.”