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Business sector calls for Wollongong economic study
Released 18 November 2011

Business groups representative of a broad cross section of interests are calling for Wollongong City Council to undertake an economic analysis to determine the best outcome for the Crown St Mall as part of a wider investigation on revitalising Wollongong’s city heart.    

Tourism Wollongong, the Illawarra Business Chamber, the Australian Industry Group and the Property Council of Australia have called on the council’s new leaders to consider the role of Wollongong’s CBD as the regional city, the key location in terms of business development and jobs growth, as well as a great location to enjoy leisure experiences.

They argue that public opinion and past surveys have not provided an economic consideration on the best way to revitalise the city centre, including the role of the Crown St Mall, in the context of creating a great public domain and developing city wide precincts such as retail, office spaces, increased medical facilities, residential options, university accommodation and cultural opportunities like a convention centre.

“Crown St Mall as the heart of the city has the opportunity to be an attractor for both business and leisure, unfortunately it’s currently quite the opposite,” Tourism Wollongong Chair Matt Davidson said.

“We’re currently working on establishing regular events and activities for the city centre which complement the business and retail experiences, but this is only part of the story.”

Property Council Illawarra Chapter Chair David Laing said private sector investment was poised to spend millions in the CBD, creating a ripe opportunity to take action and seek the best outcome for the city centre.

“We’ve always asked who would argue with an outcome which grows a business or develops better and safer public amenity, but to date the discussions seem to be restricted to limited survey results, pavers and trees,” he said.

“Whilst these considerations are important, revitalising a city centre requires a more sophisticated approach including the economic case studies of what has occurred in other locations where city centres have been reinvigorated with an array of measures, including the reactivation of main street scapes.”