Illawarra developers say they are not in favour of Wollongong City Council's radical employment-driven proposal to ban new residential buildings in parts of the CBD.
As part of a plan to encourage more employers to move their offices to Wollongong, the council has proposed Burelli Street, as well as part of Market Street, should become "commercial only zones".
The new Wollongong City Centre Planning Review indicates the city faces a massive shortfall of commercial space in the next 15 years if the city continues developing in its current manner, and suggests developers need to be incentivised to build A-Grade offices.
But the developers lobby says residential buildings - which usually yield the highest returns for developers - should not be pushed out.
"A lot of other cities are moving away from commercial-only zones to mixed-use precincts because they want to create communities that attract people to those areas 24 hours a day," Urban Development Institute Australia's southern region manager Keiran Thomas said.
"The commercial-only areas of Sydney's CBD can be a ghost-town on weekends and we don't want to end up like that."
Mr Thomas welcomed the council's move away from "shop-top" housing, which for years has required developers to building retail or commercial space on the lower floors to get apartments approved in certain planning zones.
"Everyone acknowledges that retail strips have been spread too thinly across the city, and we support Council removing the requirement to provide shops at the ground floor of every development," he said.
"The nature of retail has changed and we need to change with it."
The most controversial part of the council's plan was a suggestion that CBD parking should be further "disincentivised" in favour of public transport, walking or cycling.
Mr Thomas said developers wanted the council to relax its requirements on parking for residential buildings, as they believed there was less need for residents to have access to parking space.
"Residents might not need as much parking because everything they need is within walking distance," he said.
"People visiting the city centre, though, still need somewhere close to park."
To address this issue, Mr Thomas suggested the council could allow the privatisation of its public car parks.
He said developers were keen to explore public/private partnerships, which required the developers to incorporate multi-storey public car parking - which may be paid parking - into the design of new apartments or offices in exchange for access to the prime land.
"Wollongong needs to become smarter about parking provision," he said.
"There are a number of council-owned open-air carparks in the city centre, which could be leveraged to provide multi-storey parking and use the space more effectively."