Plans to dramatically transform a long-neglected public housing block in Wollongong CBD have been unveiled, with government contractors proposing to build a 13-storey tower which combines affordable housing with private homes.
The high-rise project - which also includes a ground floor childcare centre for 30 children - will replace the former 22-unit red brick Department of Housing block at the eastern end of Crown Street, which burnt down in a late-night fire in 2016.
According to the plans, the first two residential levels will be made up of 27 affordable and social housing units.
This includes 11 dual key units which can be configured as either self-contained two-bedroom units or divided into one-bedroom units and studios. If the former configuration is used, the complex would have 16 affordable and social two-bedroom units.
The upper levels (3 to 12) will house 38 private housing units, and the building will also have a basement level with parking for 51 residents.
The affordable unit sizes will range from about 36 to 76sqm with at least 13 to each floor, and nine of the units will have no direct sunlight access. The private homes will be between 82-102sqm, with four to a floor.
While the complex will tower over its direct neighbours, it is a similar height to many of the new buildings which have risen at the lower end of Crown Street in recent years.
The complex is being developed by Traders in Purple, who were awarded a public/private partnership tender by the state's Land and Housing Commission.
The developers have had a hand in numerous other projects around the Illawarra, including Crown Wollongong, the Vantage Apartments near Wollongong train station and Kiama's Bathers apartments.
Under the public private partnership, the government contributes the land to the private developer.
Former Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward said in 2018 that the city and beachside land was worth so much, the developer paid for the build of the development, "then keeps 70 per cent of that for sale, and gives us 30 per cent of it".
"So in exchange for the land, we get 30 per cent of the building housing units," she told the Mercury.
According to the plans, the affordable housing units must remain as such for at least 10 years after the completion of the building.
When announcing the expressions of interest process for the project, Ms Goward said the government hoped to start construction in the middle of 2019, with the aim of having the units completed by mid-2022.
This timeline has been significantly pushed back, with the application still needing to go through Wollongong council's development assessment process.
The plans are on exhibition until January 25.