Supermarket shelves are being stocked and the finishing touches are being put on specialty shops as the first stage of the Shell Cove town centre comes to life.
There’s barely any water yet in the adjoining marina, wooden boards need to be laid on the jetty and workers and heavy machinery dot the landscape, yet it’s easy to envisage the finished area.
The new retail precinct – designed to be the hub of the Waterfront development – will be open in late October, with a range of speciality stores alongside a large (3800sqm) Woolworths supermarket and a BWS liquor store.
Residents and visitors will have a wealth of choice – something healthy from the Naturally Tasty Kiosk; artisan sourdough or pastries from Breadrocks bakery or a sweet treat from the Bliss ice-cream and gelato parlour.
There’ll be outdoor seating overlooking the marina at the Seawall cafe and Amalfi Pizza restaurant, plus there’ll be services including the Man Cave barber and Shell Cove dental.
The Waterfront is a joint venture between Shellharbour council and Frasers Property Australia – and every stage has been carefully planned so residents can walk to shops, the harbour, schools, beaches, public transport and other amenities.
For Shellharbour mayor Marianne Saliba, who inspected the site on Tuesday morning, it’s been worth the wait.
“My mother worked on this project when she was an alderman on the council that determined to start the project almost over 30 years ago so it’s very exciting to see it about to open,” she said.
Councillor Saliba said it was wonderful to see local businesses – employing more than 100 staff – setting up shop in the new retail precinct.
“It’s fantastic, I can’t wait till the stores are open and people are accessing the marina and waterfront and enjoying their weekends down here,” she said. “This development has always been a jewel in the crown for Shell Cove … and it will really put it on the map.”
Frasers Property development director Glenn Colquhoun said careful consideration had been given to the design and sustainability of the new centre, which will also house the Shell Cove sales and information centre.
“It’s quite unique – we’ve spent a lot of time and effort getting the design right,” he said. “(HDR Architects) have worked to try and reference the local character – both the Illawarra escarpment and the coastal environment and reinforce that within the architecture of the building.
The retail precinct features solar panels that would generate power for the equivalent of 55 homes, and 90,000 litre rainwater tanks.
Mr Colquhoun said October’s grand opening would be the first of many milestones in the next 12 months.
Piling for the marina berths would also commence in October, while construction was gearing up for the Aqua apartments and The Waterfront restaurant precinct.
Woolworths is set to open on October 10, ahead of the entire centre's grand opening later that month.