Developer plans four-storey apartment block for old Shellharbour garage

The old garage on Addison Street has played a starring role in the debate over Shellharbour Village’s heritage values in recent years.

But the early 20th century building – which has been described as both an icon and an eyesore – is set to soon be demolished, with plans for another multi-storey apartment block under consideration until March 7.

Design Workshop Australia has lodged new plans with Shellharbour council for a four-storey residential and retail complex with five shops and 18 apartments to be built on the garage site.

Facing Addison Street, Mary Street and Allens Lane, the development will include basement parking. The ground floor will house the retail tenancies and the upper three levels will each have six apartments.  

According to the developers, the “contemporary” building will fit with “the desired future character of the streetscape/area and will preserve the existing look and feel of the area”.

It is “economically sound, ecologically sustainable and in the public interest and should be supported by Shellharbour City Council and determined as approved”, they said.

In 2012, the council approved a different four-storey complex for the garage site, with five retail units, two professional suites and 13 residential apartments.

Design Workshop Australia notes this consent has not been activated.

In June last year, councillors voted to approve two other four-storey apartment buildings – a 17-unit block on Addison Street and a three-unit premises facing Wentworth Street – in the village.

Making that decision, some councillors noted the concern that the multi-storey units could lead to a loss of the village’s character and charm but said they were obliged to stick to the city’s development rules.

In the latest review of the rules, in 2011, the council initially proposed a heritage listing for the entire village, but this drew objections from the community and was reversed.

The origins of Shellharbour Village date back to 1851 when the private township of Peterborough was registered to service settlers who had made their homes around the harbour.

After the arrival of a post office, the village was renamed Shellharbour after the abundance of shell grit on the foreshore.

In the 1890s, the village suffered a downturn as the development of the rail line made Albion Park more commercially important.

In recent times, the village has faced new commercial challenges from the growing Stockland Shellharbour precinct and city centre, and will soon face stiff tourism competition when the nearby Shell Cove marina is completed.