Supercoach Jack Gibson once quipped “waiting for Cronulla to win a premiership is like leaving the porch light on for Harold Holt”.

With the addition of new halves pairing James Maloney and Chad Townsend, a fully fit Ben Barba poised to fire at fullback, and 2015 Rookie of the Year Jack Bird joining best mate and fair dinkum superstar Valentine Holmes on an attacking right side, 2016 could well be the year the Cronulla Sharks finally break their 50 year Premiership hoodoo.

And it’s not just on the field where Cronulla are gunning for their best season ever, but off the field as well, with HDR Rice Daubney’s latest round of modifications recently submitted to the Department of Planning & Environment for the Sharks Woolooware Bay development set to improve the architectural treatment of the ambitious project.


The modifications for the Shire development, which is being built on land owned by the Cronulla Sutherland Leagues Club, were submitted by Bluestone Capital Ventures, the development company working with the Sharks.

The Woolooware Bay development has been called the Shire’s answer to Barangaroo, and aside from the CBD development, is the largest waterfront conversion underway in Sydney right now, set to transform the Woolooware landscape and position the Sharks better financially.

The development includes:

  • A retail hub featuring dining precinct, fresh food marketplace, supermarket, and lifestyle stores, with 770 car parking spaces
  • Foreshore parklands featuring a network of boardwalks, a playground, cycle paths and abundant open space
  • Shark Park/Leagues Club – Home to the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks rugby league team
  • A residential community consisting over 600 apartments in a resort-style bay side address

Indicative renders of approved Concept Plan

A series of DAs have already been approved by the Sutherland Shire Council to allow for the commencement of construction for the first residential stages. Work is already well underway on the first stage of the residential precinct, and is on track for a September 2016 completion (the same time the Sharks hope to be battling it out in the NRL finals). Stage 2 has also commenced construction and is due for completion in mid-late 2017, with the final stage, Stage 3, still subject to final DA approval.

And while the residential part of the development is moving ahead at a rate of knots, the design of retail and entertainment section continues to evolve with the most recent development application set forth.


The modification applications seeks to facilitate changes to the approved architectural design of the Retail/Club precint which arose following a comprehensive design review that was undertaken by the newly appointed project architects HDR Rice Daubney.

Sitting between Captain Cook Drive and the Woolooware foreshore, the site sits on the eastern precinct of the Woolooware Bay Town Centre, and currently consists of the Stadium, Leagues Club and car park, with a total area of 59,340sqm. The site is bounded by a tidal storm water drainage channel to the west, Woolooware Bay to the north, Woolooware Road North to the east and Captain Cook Drive to the south.

Already approved elements for the retail/club elements of the development involves partial demolition of the existing Leagues Club and construction of a new retail centre with a maximum gross floor area of 26,473sqm. The precinct will be built over four levels which will also include 770 on-site car parking spaces.

Approved architectural plans for the eastern precinct of Woolooware Bay Town Centre. Click to expand


Captain Cook Drive and Woolooware Bay elevations. Click to expand

The proposed changes include the addition of a child care centre, enclosure of the retail dining terrace, and the introduction of a full roof structure above the top level car park to ensure it is fully utilised.

The Centre itself seeks to infuse the site with an urban sensibility, with the introduction of an internal street, running north-south, connecting the Captain Cook Drive entry with the landscape beyond, providing visitors with a sense of the natural environment beyond the limits of the centre itself.

The facades would also see significant changes to the approved development, with a reprogramming of the southern façade to include more active street frontages and greater façade articulation to strengthen the relationship between the retail centre and the streetscape.


The proposed modification provides greater clarity and refinement of the architectural and material treatment of key building facades, particularly the southern (Woolooware Bay) and northern (Captain Cook Drive) foreshore elevations.


The geometry of the northern façade draws inspiration from the natural landscape, with the language of the façade taken through the building in the form of a sculpted skylight running along the length of the main mall and in the design of the shopfronts.

The material palette for the southern façade is to be comprised of precast concrete, steel panelling and timber panelling, responding to the more urban form of the Captain Cook Drive environment. In comparison, the northern façade to the foreshore parklands will include a much higher proportion of timber panelling and painted surfaces to respond to the more naturalistic setting.

Tristan Dennis is a copy writer for Cirrus Media and an avid Cronulla Sharks fan. His views, opinions and team bias are his own and not those of the Architecture & Design team.