While the WIN Grand CBD development aims to keep the facade of the Spotlight building they won't be going back to the way it looked in 1921.
The $400 million development takes over the whole city block with the Spotlight building on the corner of Crown and Atchison streets being one of only two locations that will be recognisable when the work is finished.
The facades of that building and the Grand Hotel will be incorporated into the WIN Grand site.
But the Spotlight facade will resemble what we see today, not the one there when it was first built.
The shop was constructed in 1920 by the Marcus Clarke department store chain - established in Sydney in 1883 - after it had operated in two previous Crown Street sites since 1902.
According to the WIN Grand Heritage Impact Statement, no architectural plans could be found, however photos from the time show a much more ornate facade than the one now at the site.
The facade was upgraded in 1957, which has remained substantially unchanged through to today, and development manager Steven Turner said that's the era they plan to restore.
"In the 1950s they put this new facade on in response to Wollongong's modernisation," Mr Turner said.
"There's always an argument, 'are you supposed to take it back to what it originally was?' and most heritage professionals would say no.
"You can't go and mimic something - that's like a Hollywood movie-set kind of response.
"The building took an important step and reinvented itself and that fabric of that building is still there. So you need to preserve that."
The interiors of the building will be demolished as there is little of heritage significance.
"It's gone through so many changes and adaptations that there's very little in that building that was ever original or of its time even in the 1950s," Mr Turner said.
Also, the interior is "totally non-compliant" with aspects of the current building code so there was little point in retaining the interior structures.