The government has given the green light to a controversial plan to build two supermarkets and 140 apartments near Dickson shops.
Plans for the development, which is being driven by the Doma Group and Coles, have come under fire in their various iterations, and the government knocked back the project last year for its failure to meet planning and design requirements.
A second, significantly changed proposal was put forward by developers this year, which critics said was a step forward but remained "clinical", "a monolithic lump", and an "alienating" complex.
Residents had lingering concerns about a lack of parking, particularly during construction, the removal of trees, the dated and uninspiring design, traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, and the negative effect on Dickson pool.
But planning authorities will announce on Thursday they have accepted the revised proposal, subject to a string of conditions they have imposed in an effort to respond to community concerns.
Construction will take about 25 months, although it is not yet clear how soon work will begin.
Environment and Planning Directorate deputy director-general Gary Rake conceded the proposal may not win unanimous support from the community, but said the government had done all it could to strike the right balance between the competing interests of residents.
"There is no perfect outcome here because there is such a wide range of views and aspirations," Mr Rake said.
"There are people in the community who want to see an additional supermarket, and want to see that very, very quickly. On the other end of the spectrum there will be people who are reluctant to see any change at all."
"What we've tried to do is find the very best balanced outcome for the community."
Extensive measures have been taken to alleviate parking concerns, and the developer has agreed to have all workers park away from the area, and instead at the former observatory site in Hawdon Place.
Fifteen months into the construction, the tradesmen will move to the basement car park of the complex.
He said the total loss of parking during construction – 237 parks, of which 177 are used on average – would be offset by the addition of about 150 new car parks that have been secured from new and underutilised parking in the area.
An open space next to the Dickson pool will no longer be used as a temporary car park, Mr Rake said.
Short-stay parking will be located around the core of the shopping centre, to enable customers to access it with ease, while long-stay parking for workers will be around the periphery.
Brochures and maps will be put online and distributed to residents and businesses to inform them of the parking plan, while signage will also help guide drivers through the changed arrangements.
Once construction is complete, there will be more than 450 parks on site for customers and the public.
The complex's frontage onto Antill Street and associated loading dock arrangements have been improved, meaning trucks will not spill out into the street, and there will be active shopfronts onto Badham Street.
The general appearance of the building has also been improved, Mr Rake said, using more-contemporary building materials, awnings, louvres, and modern colour variations.
There would also be a more-attractive and safer pedestrian environment and improved connections with the existing Dickson shops.
"We believe they've made improvements to the quality of the design, to the functionality, the aesthetics, to the public domain," Mr Rake said.
"This is a much-higher quality proposal," he said.
The north-eastern corner of the development will also be more active and engaging, Mr Rake said.
"It won't be a blank facade, it won't lack design articulation and interest," he said.
The number of doors on the loading dock had been reduced, and changes will make it easier for drivers to navigate through the public parking entry, and an expanded shared zone would help improve safety.
"Dickson is a great place, it is already attracting a lot of interest," Mr Rake said.
"We are sure that it's going to become more interesting over time. This development will add to the place, it will add to the services available for residents, it will add to the amount of parking available, it will bring new residents into the area.
"What we have to do is make sure that we manage all those inconveniences that come through in construction."
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