Plans for a $70 million apartment, hotel and commercial development on Warrnambool's Fairy Street have received cautious optimism from civic leaders who want drawings of how the nine-storeys will appear next to existing buildings.
Warrnambool mayor Vickie Jellie attended a recent meeting with interested parties wanting to develop the old Callaghan Motors site.
She said the plan was an "exciting concept" that would be "something completely different for the city".
But Cr Jellie and her colleagues are yet to from views on the proposal because the developer is yet to lodge a planning application with the council and officers are yet to brief councillors.
"Our planning team will work together with investors and the Callaghans and then it will be brought out for councillors to have a look at and consider," she said.
"Architects and the investors would have to show to the council how it will sit in the street; that was a question I put to them in that meeting.
"It's hard to visualise something so different."
Deputy mayor Richard Ziegeler, whose election campaign included a stance to preserve heritage buildings, said his personal view was that the modern design "wouldn't age well".
"The best that can be said for it is that it's an improvement on what's there," Cr Ziegeler said.
"It's an enormous establishment, it's going to dominate the streetscape and the skyline of that particular part of the CBD."
He believed the proposal suggested that more people would want to move to the city to work in office spaces and live centrally.
"It's yet to be seen how it will fit in with what heritage buildings are there. In general, I have to applaud the confidence the developer has in Warrnambool," Cr Ziegeler said.
"You have to wonder and be cautiously optimistic that Warrnambool has this kind of big future."
Cr Ziegeler said he applauded existing developments on Fairy Street that mirrored heritage buildings in the area.
"It comes down to personal preferences and aesthetics," he said.
"Warrnambool has lost so many of its iconic sandstone buildings, and that's a tragedy.
"Places like Port Fairy, Bendigo and Ballarat have maintained them, and they're really reaping the tourist dollars because of that."
The development includes a mix of apartments, hotel serviced apartments, underground car parking, commercial and retail space.
The Standard's readers shared mixed views of the plans on social media, some saying "it looks great ... (I) hope it goes ahead" and the plan was "great for Warrnambool".
Others said: "We are not a big city for this kind of building", and that "bigger and taller is not better".
"It looks great but will it work?" another queried.
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