Developers are hoping to double the size of Coles and build four multi-storey apartment blocks atop the existing Thirroul Plaza site, in a controversial $60 million redevelopment proposed for the northern Illawarra town.
Released to the public on exhibition on Friday, the plans have already caused a stir among residents who are split over the need to improve the "eyesore" 1980s plaza and concerns about extra homes creating more traffic in the already congested suburb.
Plans have been lodged by Loucas Architects, on behalf of a development company called Thirroul Plaza Pty Ltd, and will be open for comment until May 27.
If approved - which will be done by the NSW Joint Regional Planning Panel due to the project's high investment value - the site would become a three-storey complex of 82 apartments, shops and a major supermarket.
There would be two levels of basement car parking, a ground floor commercial level of 13 shops and 2800sqm supermarket towards the back of the site along the rail line.
The upper two floors would be a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, housed in four blocks with an area of communal open space, including a pool, in the centre.
On social media, residents have had mixed reactions to the plan.
Commenting on the Thirroul Living Facebook page, many have said the ship front photomontage "looks great" and remarked that the current plaza "is an ugly eyesore" and "certainly needs an upgrade".
"Don't know about those numbers for apartments, the shopfronts do look good though," Jacqui Tegel wrote.
Many others were concerned by the large number of units, and the ramifications extra residents could have on traffic, congestion and live music at nearby pubs and venues.
"About time we need to put the 'we are full' signs up before it ends up like the city, we are not city people, enough is enough," commenter Su Bee wrote.
Bradley Verity pointed out that the proposal "could be devastating for live music at Beaches Hotel", pointing to what happened at Luna Park with conflicts over noise between the theme park and new residents.
However, some people said the redevelopment of the site - which has been problematic for more than a decade - would be good for the town.
"The current structure is an ugly eyesore both physically and visually discordant with the street level, 82 units is not a drama," Stephen Le Bas wrote.
"Perhaps most would commute by [public transport] to Sydney or Wollongong, an increased presence of people will boost trade for local businesses, that is great for all of us, including live music venues."
The site was sold to development company Thirroul Plaza Pty Ltd for just under $9 million in 2017.
Asking the council to approve their plans, the developers have concluded that it "will provide a positive addition to the existing commercial development in the area and will be harmonious with the surrounding development".
"The location of the development within the Thirroul Village Centre allows good access to transport and services which reduces car usage, thereby providing an environmentally sustainable development," the plans say.
The company's media spokeswoman Emma Foster said the development would transform the site into a "true community hub".
"There has been an extensive consultation process with council and various consultants to ensure the development exceeds the community's expectations in improving the current site, creating a new village hub by improving retail outlets and amenities, offering high quality residences whilst alleviating both parking and traffic concerns, all within a design and aesthetic that is appropriate for this unique coastal location," she said in a statement.