A NEW $13 million Woolworths development for Nelson Bay has been approved by council and is being welcomed as a chance to revitalise the town's ailing CBD.
The application was lodged in November last year and includes the site at the corner of Stockton and Donald street currently leased by Woolworths to the existing Coles store.
As well as the destruction of the existing site, the development will feature the construction of a 3457 square-metre shopping centre including a liquor store, 184-space basement car park and about 100 square metres of space within the site for an undetermined specialty store.
President of the Nelson Bay Business Chamber Robyn Bradbury said the store would be a huge boost for the area.
"I think it's great because what Nelson Bay needs is an anchor store," she said.
"You've just got to look at the number of vacant shops in Nelson Bay, obviously a lot of it is seasonal but this will allow businesses to be more sustainable all year."
"Once people come in to do shopping at Woolies they'll spend more money in other shops ... typically we know when people go to the shopping mall it's time-out to go and do other shopping, so it will drive that business into other local businesses."
Mayor Bob Westbury agreed the area would benefit.
"This is the best news for the Nelson Bay CBD since I have been on council," he said.
"It will revitalise the town and give traders some kind of anchor ... it will definitely have a flow on effect."
Under the terms of the development application approval Woolworths has five years to begin work on the site and according to a spokeswoman from the grocery chain the store was still some time away, with development not able to begin until the Coles lease expires on November 30 2014. The approval was subject to the condition that Woolworths secure a liquor licence from the NSW Office of Liquor and Gaming for any liquor store on the site. The spokeswoman said that now that approval for the development had been granted Woolworths would begin the process of obtaining a license.