Department store giant Myer is in negotiations with property group GPT over a multimillion-dollar facelift for the ageing southern side of Crown St Mall.But Keira MP David Campbell has strongly criticised the long delay in GPT's larger $250 million West Keira shopping centre project, saying the company risks gaining a reputation for "demoralising communities".GPT development manager Steven Turner has confirmed the group is in talks with Myer regarding the smaller refurbishment, which would match the scale of Wollongong Central's $30 million makeover.The parties are also negotiating the renewal of Myer's lease, which expires in October next year."We want to see Myer secured in the CBD for the long-term in as good a possible store as we can," Mr Turner said.Should both parties agree to the deal, a development application would be lodged next year, subject to approval by the GPT board. The work would be the first major overhaul of the three-storey centre since it opened in 1986.Illawarra Property Council chairman Geoff Jones said the talks were "a show of confidence" in Wollongong's commercial heart."With the refurbishment on the west side and potential refurbishment on the south side and the other [Wollongong City Council] work, it will be a great boost for retailers in the mall," he said.But GPT remains tight-lipped on the future of its West Keira development, which was to include a supermarket, specialty shops, a 760-seat food court and cinema complex. Considered the linchpin of the city centre's rejuvenation, the plan won development approval but was shelved in September 2008 after the global financial crisis.At the time, GPT said work would be delayed for at least two years. Mr Turner said the work remained in the "pipeline" of development projects."GPT is continually looking to the earliest possible opportunity to commence the development subject to it reaching the desired commercial return parameters," he said, saying it "remains confident about the long-term outlook for the Illawarra."But Keira MP David Campbell slammed the protracted delay, claiming "the platitudes of GPT demean them as an organisation.""A lot of people worked very hard to get planning approval for that investment. I accept the global financial crisis came along but the national economy has climbed out of that. It's time to invest," he said.Mr Campbell said GPT "took to Newcastle with a big stick" when it abandoned a $600 million shopping centre plan earlier this year, saying the company "needs to invest [in Wollongong], otherwise it will get a reputation around the country for demoralising communities."Wollongong MP Noreen Hay said she was confident GPT would return to the project.Vendors in shops leased on the West Keira site, such as Kristy Trajkovski from clothing store Kitt Couture, say they have been left in the dark about GPT's plans. "We haven't heard anything, we've been trying to contact them this week to find out what's happening," she said.