CITY GATEWAY: Plans for the city centre residential towers, looking south from Keira and Smith Streets. Architect’s drawings: Edmiston Jones.One of Wollongong’s mostcontroversial development sites could soon be transformed by$90 million plans to buildfour residential towers on the vacant city-edgeland bounded by Flinders, Keira and Campbell Streets.
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According to documents lodged with Wollongong City Council, Malaysian consortium Gateway Wollongong plans to buildmore than 200 apartments and thousands of square metres of commercial space on the triangular city block.

Making an entrance: The development, viewed from Flinders Street, is designed to transform Wollongong’s entryway with units and commercial space.

The site has a long and contentious planning history. Itwas once flagged for the corruption-laden “Quattro” development, which featured prominentlyinthe city’s infamoussex for development scandal.

In 2008, an ICAC inquiryfound that developer Frank Vellar had engaged in corrupt conduct by engineering the approval of the Quattro development with his lover,Beth Morgan.

From above: The development would cover most of the triangular block between Flinders, Campbell and Keira Streets.

The new plans, lodgedbyarchitects Edmiston Jones and planners TCW Consulting,would see fourseparateresidential towers of seven and eight storeys being built.

There would be221 units locatedabove three levels of commercial space, which the applicants said would be “small scale” so as not to compete with nearby retail activity.

The complex, to be known as Gateway, wouldalso have330 car spaces for residents, visitors and commercial tenants, and an internal, landscaped, courtyard the size of two residential blocks.

The highest building in the complex, located at the site’s western edge, would risejust under 24 metres.

The plans replace the Malaysiancompany’sambitious $135 millionBass and Flinders Gateway, which faltered in its early planning stagesas it could not overcome serious concerns about its soaring 60-metre buildingheights.

The Mercury’s 2014 coverage of the Bass and Flinders Gateway saga. The $135 million complex failed to get past the first planning hurdle, when developers could not convince the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) of its merits.

Since 2011, the prominent site has beenowned byWollongong council, which“provided landowners consent”to the newapplication being lodged.The property is in the process of being transferred to Gateway Wollongong Pty Ltd, the plans said.

TheMalaysian company has been in negotiations with Wollongong council over the site since at least 2012, with councillors voting that year to give the company first dibs on buying the land.

It remainsunknown if the company andcouncilhave agreed on a price for the land, as all council meetings over the sale have been held behind closed doors.

Unlike its predecessor,the new proposed development will not take up the entire block and has been designed around the existing, privately-owned buildings on the triangular wedge of land.

The plans are on public exhibition until June 8, and will be assessed by the Joint Regional Planning Panel, due to theircapital investment value of $88.4 million.

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