By: Darius Oliver
Following the Wollongong City Council’s recent rejection of its plans for a golf subdivision at West Dapto in the Illawarra region of NSW, Chinese-backed Visionary Investment Group (VIG) have upped the ante with local planning authorities and today announced an even more ambitious development masterplan.
Said to now be valued at around $1 Billion, the newly named “Silkari Resort at Avondale” development is proposed to include three hotels, 395 residential dwellings and a Greg Norman golf course alongside Australia’s first Greg Norman golf academy.
There is no word yet, as to whether VIG have paid for a ‘top of the range’ Greg Norman Signature Design or settled instead for less direct input from Greg Norman personally via the ECO Signature Design or GNGCD Design options.
Regardless of the design package selected, Greg Norman apparently ‘fell in love’ with the land at Avondale ten years ago and was on hand today to help developers promote his revised Masterplan. Norman has revised plans for the old Huntley Colliery site many times over the years, and even built a couple of holes back in 2013 to try elevate awareness in the development.
The current developers plans for 105 home sites in a Stage 1 Subdivision at Avondale was rejected back in August. Despite the rejection, the company says it will press ahead with the approved elements of the project and expects a golf course to be finished by 2019 and for residential sales to start next Spring.
It remains to be seen whether the Wollongong City Council will view the new plan more favourably than the previous version - and indeed whether a golf course on the site can be built within two years.
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A new $1.02 billion tourism vision for the old Huntley Colliery site has been unveiled by developers alongside Greg Norman at West Dapto.
To be titled the “Silkari Resort at Avondale”, the early stages of a golf resort bearing Mr Norman’s name have been underway since gaining approval in 2011.
However, the Sydney-based, Chinese-backed Visionary Investment Group – which bought the site in 2015 – revealed a new, grander direction for their 556 hectare site on Wednesday.
An 18-hole championship golf course and a proposed Australia-first golf academy also named for Mr Norman will be the centerpiece the tourism site.
The golf legend was at West Dapto to unveil the plan on Wednesday and said he “fell in love” with the former industrial site ten years ago.
The new direction includes:
- an 18-hole championship golf course;
- a club house with restaurants and a function centre;
- a 290-key resort hotel;
- two smaller high-end spa lodges with 35 and 20 rooms;
- a tennis and recreation centre;
- a sports academy; and
- a 395 dwelling housing estate including homes overlooking the golf fairways as well as semi-rural blocks.
VIG is also in talks with the University of Wollongong about the establishment of a hospitality school and sports academy attached to the resort.
The former site of the Huntley Colliery was closed in 1989 and has been subject to a number of stalled development plans in recent years.
Most of this new proposal will be subject to a drawn out planning process – including rezoning and an overall master plan – before it can go ahead.
However, the golf course and some of the planned housing subdivision have already gained planning approval.
VIG says the golf course will be finished by late 2019, with completion of the holes done in stages to allow them to be played.
Pending council approval, the first stage of the residential component should go on sale in Spring 2018, the developers said on Wednesday.
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