Wollongong residents have welcomed the release of $280 million plans to overhaul the vacant former David Jones site. However, some believe the site should be used for other purposes. Others raised concerns about how much its construction will disrupt the city and whether there will be enough parking.
The plans for a new five star hotel, office building and redevelopment of the City Diggers site have been revealed by the Mercury on September 28.
Dapto resident Shanay Howie believes it would be better to have something at the site for kids.
"Wollongong's got enough hotels and high-rise buildings ... I suppose it's better to have something rather than nothing," she said.
The site on 163-177 Crown Street was once a David Jones department store, and briefly opened its doors again to become a vaccination centre during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wollongong resident Christine Mann has fond memories of the speciality food at the former David Jones food court but welcomes the new development.
She is looking forward to the renovated City Diggers Club which is set to become a six-storey combined club and motel operated and leased by Wollongong Golf Club.
Gaye Burrows said she had hoped to see a more innovative design. "Think Frank Gehry or Zaha Hadid," she said. "Planning in Wollongong needs to think of the bigger picture, not just build more boxes."
One man planning to move to Wollongong in the near future said the development "could bring a bit more vitality to the area and jobs".
John Bolec from Condell Park said the proposed 15-storey hotel could help with the "overflow" of needed accommodation during tourism events.
Many online readers welcomed the release of the plans, saying it would be a "great improvement of the CBD". But others worried about the disruption to the city during the development. "Between this and WIN Grand development, central Wollongong is just gonna be a development site for several years," Aaron Makeham said.
Albion Park resident Sally Corrigan said whilst people will not like a possibly lengthy construction process "people will like it once it's been built".
"The only thing I would worry about is parking ... at the end of the day it will bring more people," Wollongong resident Cara Hickey said.
While Wollongong man Benjamin Harrison wished the old DJ site included a movie theatre, Winston Peters said he had hoped to see the dilapidated Greater Union site, which was "depressing the whole area" included in any inner city development.
"I just think there's way too much hospitality scene in this whole area I feel like there should be a little more retail," Mr Harrison said.
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