A quick count of the cranes across Wollongong’s skyline is visual proof we’re in the midst of a construction boom.
According to the Illawarra Business Chamber’s executive director Adam Zarth, 2019 marks a big year for the expansion of the city’s residential and commercial property stock.
He said 2018 had been a “big year – and 2019’s going to be another big one”.
As this year begins, at least 16 projects are under construction in the Wollongong CBD alone with some nearing completion, comprising 900 units with a total value of $350 million.
The city’s stock of commercial office space is receiving an expansion with four A-Grade office buildings approved, with a combined floor space of more than 30,000 square metres, which could come online in the next two years.
Construction is under way on two of these: 134-140 Keira Street and a new headquarters for IMB Bank at 47 Burelli Street.
Mr Zarth said Wollongong’s current “construction boom” will result in welcome population growth and an increase in economic activity that will benefit the entire Illawarra region.
“As a regional economy, the Illawarra can’t expand without available, high-quality commercial office space – and a supply of residential accommodation to allow our workforce to grow,” he said.
“Right now we can see seven cranes over the Illawarra skyline.
“It is important that we continue to encourage investment in our CBD and facilitate the continuation of this construction boom in Wollongong; particularly in the expansion of our supply of commercial stock.”
Mr Zarth said previously a shortage of commercial office space had “been holding back a lot of investment in our economy from companies that are looking to move out of Sydney”.
Mixed-use buildings currently under construction that incorporate commercial space include:
*10-18 Regent Street: ‘Signature Wollongong’ will offer 138 residential apartments, plus retail space. Construction is on schedule, although with a completion date to be confirmed.
*373 Crown Street, known as Pinnacle On Crown, where a high-rise proposal was first approved in 2008. Construction was halted several months ago, with a resumption date unconfirmed.
*3 Rawson Street: Avantè is an 18-storey tower in the heart of the CBD, comprised of 77 residential apartments and four floors of commercial space. It’s anticipated construction will be finished by late 2019/early 2020.
*9-15 Railway Parade: The ‘Skye Wollongong’ tower is worth about $30 million. It will have 105 apartments and retail and commercial space over 18 levels. Construction began in November.
*22-26 Flinders Street: Aura apartments are now nearing completion. The building will have 50 apartments, and two commercial premises fill out the ground floor.
Office buildings currently under construction include:
*47 Burelli Street: seven storey A-grade office block including 89 parking spaces (IMB Bank head office)
*134-140 Keira Street: A-grade office block built over basement parking.