Media veteran Bruce Gordon is seeing his 30-year dream for a new $400 million upgrade of Wollongong CBD move a step closer to fruition with the unveiling of the plans for what is known as WIN Grand.
The project, to be built by Mr Gordon’s private company Birketu, has been put on public exhibition and follows five years of consultation with Wollongong City Council, extensive research on the region’s demographics, and a design competition run in early 2020 which was awarded to Australian architectural firm, BVN.
WIN Grand will be bordered by Crown, Keira, Burelli and Atchison streets and aims to create a connected city centre by opening this block for community activation. One key element will be the sustainability of the project which aims to become Wollongong’s first carbon-neutral precinct.
Mr Gordon is the owner of the WIN Television network and also the largest shareholder of the Nine Network, which owns this masthead, and holds a significant stake in Nine Entertainment Co.
Wollongong is the largest NSW city south of Sydney and has emerged, after a tough few years, as a tech hub with its large university and proximity to the growing regional areas of NSW. The revitalisation of the CBD has been the next step in the rebuilding of the area.
Birketu and WIN Network chief executive Andrew Lancaster said the design aimed to respect the city’s past while driving it towards an exciting future.
“Wollongong is the city of innovation and WIN Grand aims to encourage fresh business and commercial opportunities by creating a strong pulse of activity within the city centre,” Mr Lancaster said.
Mr Gordon started planning for the development when his company bought the site of The Grand Hotel in Wollongong in 1990. In 2015, he spent more than $12 million for the former Commonwealth Bank building and the IMB head office in Crown Street.
Under the proposal, WIN Grand will have three different residential towers housing 402 apartments with views of the ocean and/or escarpment; 50 new retailers including cafes, restaurants, bars and high street retail; and a commercial and co-working building.