Champion motorcycle rider and Wollongong product Wayne Gardner has unveiled the next stage of what he's described as his biggest development project in Australia.
Upon completion, the Bellambi Commercial Centre development will comprise 87 industrial units of 150sqm each.
The complex is being developed by Mr Gardner, and built by the Illawarra-based Pupovac Constructions.
Mr Gardner has owned the nearly three-hectare site, located on Bellambi Lane, for more than a decade.
"I always viewed it as a development project, and I was waiting for the right time and with the right product," he said during a visit to the site on Thursday.
"With interest from Sydney and limited industrial sites in the northern suburbs, it was obvious it was going to fly at some point, but waiting for the right time was the key.
"I started it in February last year, and then COVID came along and I sh-- my pants, thinking, 'oh no, I've done it now'. But luckily, the building trade never stopped, and if anything, the real estate market has jumped off because of COVID."
Stage one, including 18 units, was completed in late 2020 and sold out.
Construction of stage two recently began, and is due to be completed in August.
Ten of the 25 units in the second stage have been sold off the plan within a few weeks.
The third stage will incorporate 36 units, although most of those won't be for sale as Mr Gardner will be holding on to them.
Mr Gardner was born and raised in Wollongong, and became Australia's first 500cc motorcycle world champion in 1987.
Mr Gardner, who was nicknamed 'The Wollongong Wiz', said it was a neat coincidence that he was world champion in 1987, and 87 units were being built.
"That seems to be a lucky number for me, and a good omen," he told the Mercury.
Mr Gardner is now based in Europe, but typically visits the Illawarra regularly.
Selling agent Travis Machan from MMJ Wollongong said the interest in stage two of the project had been strong.
He said the project's strengths included its location.
"Northern suburbs location is extremely tightly held, as far as industrial property goes," he said.
"The demand for northern suburbs, even into the southern Sydney market, has assisted in this location."
He said the buyers so far were mostly owner-occupiers, and were from both Sydney and the Illawarra.
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