Champion motorcycle rider and Wollongong product Wayne Gardner has unveiled his biggest development project in Australia.
The Bellambi Commercial Centre development has been approved, and will comprise 87 industrial units of 150sqm each.
The complex is being developed by Mr Gardner, and built by the Illawarra-based Pupovac Constructions.
Mr Gardner has owned the nearly three-hectare site, located on Bellambi Lane, for more than a decade.
"I've held it for a long time, but it's had older industrial units on it," he said.
"You can see there's one being demolished here, and the rest are going pretty soon.
"I bought it with the long-term view of developing it into something.
"In the past three years I've realised there's a shortage of small warehouses, storage centres for tradies and so on, in the northern part of Wollongong."
Mr Gardner was born and raised in Wollongong, and became Australia's first 500cc motorcycle world champion in 1987.
Mr Gardner, who was nicknamed 'The Wollongong Whiz', said it was a neat coincidence that he was world champion in 1987, and 87 units were being built.
He's now based in Europe, but visits the Illawarra several times a year.
"I've been doing little developments in Sydney and Wollongong for 30 years," he said. "I'm selling off part of the site, and I'll be holding on to some of them.
"This is my biggest project in Australia, in development, and I'm really proud of this."
Pupovac Constructions' project manager Tristan Griffiths said construction of the project will begin in April.
"It's a three-stage project, but completion will be about three-quarters of the way through next year," he said.
He said the first stage, comprising 18 units, is due to be completed in October.
Selling agent Travis Machan from MMJ Wollongong said marketing for Stage 1 of the project is under way, with the first lot of units available for purchase.
Mr Machan said the success of similar products has been restricted to the Illawarra's southern suburbs, such as Unanderra and Port Kembla.
"Similar to the housing prices in the northern suburbs, the demand and hence value of industrial land has only improved, especially over the past few years," he told the Mercury.
"There is simply fewer areas of industrially zoned land the further north you go.
"We have received an enormous amount of inquiry prior to the Christmas break, and it is evident that there is a real demand for businesses wanting to own a northern suburbs location.
"A large amount of inquiry has derived from Sydney and south-western Sydney buyers."