A retail and residential development that could breathe life into Lawson’s half-vacant town centre is on public exhibition until November 2.
Applicant Frank Kosteljnik, a local architect, told the Gazette the proposal to build six shops, three apartments and basement parking at 4 Honour Avenue “has been on the cards for a few years”.
The 1300 square metre site slopes downhill from Yileena Avenue and Great Western Highway towards Honour Avenue.
Part of the site includes the building currently used as a campus for Blacktown Youth College. Under the plans this building would be demolished and replaced by a split level, two-storey building. The basement level would have one shop and 26 underground parking spaces connected by a driveway to Honour Avenue, while the ground floor would have five shops and one apartment plus an arcade providing access to toilets and lifts. The top level would have two apartments.
Mr Kosteljnik said the building would reflect the Grand Hotel that was a local landmark until it burnt down in 1932.
“Although it is on what is now the outskirts of the new Lawson town centre, it is still a vital part of Lawson right on Douglass Square,” Mr Kosteljnik said.
According to the application’s Statement of Environmental Effects document, parking provision required by council for the development falls short by three spaces, but that is described as being “minor” due to more than 30 on-street parking spaces available along Honour Avenue.
The document claims the proposal fits in with the area’s unique character, will improve shopping opportunities in Lawson and “stimulate the local economy as well as providing a ‘gateway’ building to attract custom from passing travellers” along the highway.
The proposal is expected to be welcomed by other shopkeepers in the new Lawson town centre, who in an article in the Gazette published on August 8 claimed Lawson needed more shops to avoid becoming a retailing “death row”.
Only one cluster of shops facing the highway’s new access road has been up-and-running since the completion of the new town centre in 2010 and a large neighbouring block remains empty.
A council spokesperson told the Gazette council was “not aware of any plans for this block of land at this point in time.”