The concept of building a luxury marina and resort at South Shellharbour beach was first proposed in the 1980s.
In the mid-90s, then Shellharbour mayor Cec Glenholmes even reportedly wrote to the organisers of the Sydney Olympics, offering them the use of the future marina for the yachting events at the 2000 games.
But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for the Shell Cove project.
Chris and Ruth Lovatt, who have lived in the area on and off for 20 years, bought into the first land release at Shell Cove.
They recently returned to the suburb, with Mr Lovatt saying they enjoyed living in a "good community".
However, there was a time they felt like the boat harbour and marina may never be constructed.
"When we first moved in we were told (it'd be finished) within eight years, and it just kept going on and on, and you felt: 'it's never going to happen'," he said. "But now it's a reality."
Shell Cove is a joint development between Shellharbour City Council and Frasers Property Australia.
It was initially a co-project with the Walker Corporation, who were bought out by Australand, later known as Frasers.
People who purchased into the project 15 years ago have had a lot of patience to wait for this moment.
Shell Cove at Frasers development director Simone Dyer said the entire Shell Cove project, from Shellharbour Road to the Waterfront precinct, will include about 3500 homes once completed.
The estimated end date for the Shell Cove project is 2027, based on current sales.
Ms Dyer told the Mercury they were "really pressing ahead" with construction works at the Waterfront.
She said they were on track to achieve their goal of mid-next year for the completion of the boat harbour, Shellharbour Marina, the Waterfront dining precinct and the tavern.
"It will really start to position this place as something unique and special," she said.
"People who purchased into the project 15 years ago have had a lot of patience to wait for this moment, and now that it's here very shortly, the excitement in the community is really building."
Ms Dyer said the COVID-19 pandemic had expedited some buyers' plans to relocate to Shell Cove.
"There's been a lot of new inquiry from Sydney, with that lifestyle being a massive part of the appeal," she said.
Stuart Elliott, 54, and wife Patricia own the first house built on Wharf Parade, and moved in 18 months ago.
"It's the lifestyle," he said. "When it's all going to be finished with the restaurants, pub and everything else ... But we like Bass Point and going up to the Farm too."
Mr Elliott said he had formerly opposed the now-approved plans to add several hundred more homes to the Shell Cove development, while increasing building heights in the harbour precinct.
"I also think when it's all finished, parking will be a problem," he said.
"Street parking is going to be an issue, and it already is now. The roads are narrow, and most people have two or three cars per household, plus there's boats and things parked. It's going to be congested."
Shellharbour councillor Peter Moran said he would have preferred that the marina had not gone ahead.
"My concerns back then were that we were destroying a wetland for a marina, when we could have had a successful housing project without the marina," he said.
Cr Moran said he's since sought to help create tourism drivers in Shell Cove, including using fish aggregation devices to encourage marine life within the harbour, and underwater art displays.
"As a councillor it's my job to ensure it delivers a tourism experience that will attract tourists to the area," he said.
The Mercury also spoke with other Shell Cove residents.
Wade Jacob, 40, likes the school, "fantastic" sense of community and pristine beaches.
"Everybody's happy to help each other out," he said.
"I'm looking forward to the marina, the restaurants and walking around the boardwalks. I think they're doing a really good job with the development, and it'll be really great when it all opens up finally."
Sandra Riddell moved to Shell Cove 13 months ago.
They had initially planned to buy at Caringbah, "but we just found it too busy, and we were coming here all the time anyway to visit family".
"I just love living here - easy going, it's easy to get everywhere and people are so friendly," she said.
Alison Moore has lived at Shell Cove for more than 20 years.
"The street I live in ... Nearly everyone in that street are original tenants," she said.
"We've never moved on, the kids all grew up together, we've all had New Year's parties together.
"We've got this really nice community."