Major Australian retailer Woolworths is taking its proposed redevelopment of its Neutral Bay supermarket location to the NSW government for approval after facing rejection from North Sydney council and some local residents.
The proposed multimillion-dollar project aims to redevelop the existing Woolworths store on Rangers Rd in Neutral Bay. However, it has faced opposition from North Sydney council, with a majority of councillors voting against supporting the redevelopment plans.
Key concerns raised by the council and neighbourhood locals have focused on the proposed building’s height and bulk, as well as potential traffic impacts on surrounding residential streets. Critics argue the large scale project is out of step with the mainly low-rise character of Neutral Bay.
After the council rejected the development application, Woolworths filed an appeal with the Department of Planning for a rezoning review.
The proposed development by Woolworths involves a striking “organic architecture” complex designed by architect Koichi Takada. The underground supermarket would allow a public plaza above, creating a “town centre” with outdoor dining and public space.
It would comprise over 19,000 sqm of floor space including a full-line supermarket, retail, office space and 91 apartments. The public plaza aims to activate the site and provide a new heart for Neutral Bay.
Woolworths believes the proposal would deliver a new generation mixed-use building to support new jobs and strengthen the local economy, but locals and the council remain opposed over concerns about its scale and traffic impacts.
In its website, the company stated that they are committed to working with local communities as they adapt and change their stores to meet community needs and preferences.
Regarding the Neutral Bay site, Woolworths claimed “there is an important opportunity for Rangers Road to be adapted to create a full-line supermarket, enhanced public domain and high-quality apartments separated from Military Road.”