Wollongong City Council planners have recommended that a new apartment block in the CBD's most significant European heritage precinct should be given approval, despite objections from residents and the National Trust of Australia.
The proposed modern four-storey flat building will contain three apartments above two basement parking levels, and will replace a single-level brick house at 2 Market Place, if approved following a Wollongong Local Planning Panel meeting scheduled for Thursday.
The redevelopment has been pitched to be "an exclusive boutique complex" with one unit on each level and a two-level penthouse.
Developers acknowledged that the site was "in very close proximity" to the site of Charles Throsby's stockman's hut, believed to be the first building site during the early occupation of Wollongong in the early 1800s.
"Historic plans, painting and other evidence indicate that the site is likely to have been developed during the earliest parts of the township's development," the developer's original application said.
"It has been suggested that the study area may also contain isolated and unmapped remains dating to the commercial and residential development of Market Square [between] 1834 to 1938 which have the potential to answer research questions relating to the social, economic and domestic development [of Wollongong]."
In recommending approval, council planners have stipulated that the developer must take care to identify any archaeological relics, and "interpret" these relics into the final design if necessary.
In a submission to the council, the National Trust of Australia - Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Branch said the proposed apartment block would "not positively contribute to reinforcing the character of Market Square which today is an example of medium density residential development from the interwar years until the present".
The council received six public submissions about the plans, but says the issued raised have been successfully resolved by the developers.
These included concerns about the side width, overdevelopment and the proposal being within the heritage precinct.
The proposal is the second in recent months for an "exclusive boutique complex" to be built in the heritage area - which the council has recently identified as significant in its new Wollongong City Centre Planning Review .
The first proposal, at 1 Smith Street, has been deferred to allow the developers to address concerns from council planners and residents about the height of the building, the character of the locality and nearby heritage items.
It will return to the WLPP for final determination. The Market Place proposal will be considered at 5pm on March 21.