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   Apr 13

21-storey development proposed for Nelson Bay

NEW LOOK: An artist’s impression of how the Nelson Bay skyline could be impacted if a 21-storey development were to go ahead.A TWENTY-one storey tower is one of two proposals Port Stephens Council has considered for sites it owns on Donald Street, Nelson Bay –even if the mayor Bruce MacKenzie “isn’t set” on the height.The proposal – four times the accepted five-storey limit – was received as part of an expression of interest advertisedto redevelop the public car parks.
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The council discussed the 21-storey proposal for the eastern site and a 17-level plan for the western siteat a closed meeting onJune 28, 2016.A confidential report presented to councillors at that meeting outlines the proposals and the intent to form a contract with the developers under a public-private partnership. The council resolved to enter into negotiations with the developers Veritas and Anglican Care.

But for a deal to proceed the council noted itwould need to “secure a suitable variation” to the Development Control Plan to “enable the development proposals”. The council this week launched its Nelson Bay Discussion Paper – a review of the Nelson Bay Foreshore and Town Centre Strategy, a strategy the council has said must precede any review of development controls.

“I’m not set on the 21 storeys but it’s gotta go up to be viable,” Cr MacKenzie said.

“We’ve got to go up more than eight or 10 storeys –it will be the making of the CBD. A handful of people have held us back too long.”

The artist impression above is an estimate only of how the skyline may be impacted. The sale of the sites, after redevelopment, is to be on the condition they maintain if not increase the 295 existing public car spaces.

The EOI was advertised inMay 2015 and a panel of five council group managers and coordinators appointed to consider the proposals.An external advisory panel was also formed, including a legal representative of NSW Local Government.

Veritas was selected as the preferred developer for the Donald Street east site. The proposal includes ground floor retail, 174 apartments and 54 public car parks as well as 174 private off-street parks, measuring 21 levels.Veritas also submitted a proposal for the western site in partnership with Anglican Care. The plans includeground floor retail, an 84-bed nursing home, 87 seniors apartments and parking provisions for 241 public spaces and 73 private car parks. In total, 17 levels.

The report to councillors noted there were “reputational”risk implicationsarising from the Development Control Plan variation.

“This will require initiation by strategic planning of a ‘whole of precinct’ review of the current development controls without a guarantee of an outcome that will support the preferred proponents’ proposals,” it said.

GOING UP: Sydney-based Veritas has proposed to build a 21-storey mix of retail and residential living on the Donald Street-east site. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

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