The Catholic Church is making a foray into Wollongong's apartment development market, lodging plans with the council to redevelop two properties in the harbourside heritage precinct.
According to an application lodged by Borst and Co Architecture, the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church Diocese of Wollongong hope to build a five-storey apartment block at 16-18 Market Place.
If approved, the building would replace a double-storey block of flats and a single storey cottage, and would contain 16 units over basement parking.
Like most recent proposals within the Market Place and Harbour Street precinct, development of the blocks will prompt an archaeological dig due to their proximity to Wollongong's earliest sites of European occupation.
According to historical research which has been lodged with the DA, European occupation on site dates back as far as 1835, with the construction of the Wollongong Hotel.
After this, the block housed the office of the Illawarra Mercury (1857-1877) and by 1912 it was used for residential purposes. Since the 1920s, the site has been used solely for residential purposes, the heritage assessment said.
The existing structures within the study area do not have heritage significance, but do fall within a 'Special Area' associated with Market Square identified in the Wollongong Development Control Plan 2009.
These controls require that any buildings contribute to the "established residential character" of the area, and do not hinder daylight access to the park.
The development application does not make it clear whether the apartments will be used by clergy or other church staff, or whether they will be sol privately.
"The proposal is considered to be in the public interest as it provides additional housing to meet the needs of the community and does not result in any significant adverse impacts that cannot reasonably be avoided," the applicants conclude.
The plan is on public exhibition until July 14.