New Woolworths shopping centre at Kirrawee to open in June 2021

Work has started on the new $50 million Woolworths Kirrawee shopping centre, which is expected to be completed by June next year.

The Woolworths supermarket will go head to head with Coles and Aldi in the adjoining South Village development.

The 4500 square metres of retail space will include a Woolworths supermarket and online pick-up facility, a Dan Murphy's liquor shop, specialty stores, and about 250 car parking spaces.

An official sod-turning ceremony for the "state-of-the-art" centre took place on Thursday on the development site in Flora Street.

Woolworths says the development will create 220 direct and indirect jobs for local builders and suppliers and an estimated 200 retail jobs on completion.

The start of work comes seven years after Woolworths began buying up properties, occupied by old factories and workshops, next to the brick pit, which became South Village.

Two Woolworths' development applications were knocked back and another withdrawn before the company succeeded in gaining approval for the present project.

Earlier proposals included an upstairs childcare centre.

At one stage, it was revealed South Village developer Payce was taking over the site and would lease it to Woolworths.

Woolworths subsequently went its own way, resumed ownership and scrapped the childcare centre idea.

Woolworths regional development manager Tony Pratt said at Thursday's launch he assumed the company would have sought to be part of the South Village development.

"I am not sure why it ended up with Coles going there, but I think it will actually turn out better for us," he said.

"Our's will be a stand alone and a little bit out of the centre.

"We will have 50 ground level parking spaces and about another 200 basement spaces, with travelators and a lift.

"We find our customers really like convenience, and being able to drive straight in and out, instead of driving into a big centre, will be a difference to across the road."

Mr Pratt said he believed 250 spaces would be more than adequate.

"We provide more parking than what councils require because we know what works," he said.

Mr Pratt said, after considering traffic studies, both Woolworths and Sutherland Shire Council were satisfied the local road network could handle the extra vehicles.

To improve local traffic flows, Woolworths will undertake roadworks at the intersection of Oak Road and President Avenue.

A dedicated right turn lane will be provided on the southbound side of Oak Road.

Woolworths will also contribute to the cost of a council project to improve President Avenue at that intersection.

The new shopping centre will feature solar panels and rainwater harvesting.

Mr Pratt said, as was often the case with old industrial sites, a lot of asbestos fragments were found under the concrete slabs.

"We had to go through very stringent protocols and it cost us a fair bit of money, which we were hoping not to spend, but the good news is that it has all been remediated and the site totally cleared."

Mr Pratt said Woolworths had "a proud history in Sutherland Shire".

Its first store opened in Sutherland in 1956 and today there were about 1300 team members working across the shire.

Mayor Carmelo Pesce said the site was "very special" for him.

"In 1984 when I left school in Year 10 at [De La Salle College] Caringbah, I started my apprenticeship right here.

"I was a 16-year-old boy, starting a carpentry apprenticeship.

"I stayed here for about four and a half years and then started my own business."