The ailing Caringbah shopping strip looks set to receive a major shot in the arm with a proposal for an up-market takeaway and dine-in food venue in the former Westpac bank branch building.
The eatery, to be called Mavericks, is intended to be the flagship for a chain of new concept stores.
The operator plans to spend nearly half a million dollars converting the premises, including a decked outdoor dining area in the north-eastern corner, next to the laneway through to Coles.
A development application (DA) has been lodged for change of use and a liquor licence is also being sought for the premises on Kingsway opposite the train station.
Subject to approval, the business will operate from 6am to 9.30 pm Monday to Sunday, catering for up to 89 patrons and with 10-15 staff working at any one time.
An interior design company, specialising in retail and hospitality, has been engaged for the project.
The Westpac bank branch closed permanently on October 16 last year after temporarily shutting down at the start of COVID-19.
The DA estimated the cost of fit-out and signage for the new business at $464,860.
The name of the operator has not been yet been disclosed.
Leasing agent Brad Lord, of Ray White Commercial, said "they are very experienced people in the food business". He believes they are from the eastern suburbs.
"They intend Caringbah to be the flagship for a series of stores, which will have a new concept," Mr Lord said.
"It will be fantastic for Caringbah, which has been become a very transient place since they took away the parking [on the eastern side of Kingsway].
"To have something like this coming in here, with a very big investment from a proven operator is exactly what Caringbah needs.
"They are positioning this store for the Coles redevelopment."
Mr Lord said, with the plans being made, the fit-out cost could well exceed $500,000.
The DA said the proposal would "develop a distinct characteristic at the site and promote revitalisation of the centre".
"The proposal aligns with the aims for the Caringbah Commercial Core outlined in the DCP (development control plan) and will rejuvenate a site which is currently vacant and will be a welcome addition to an area of Caringbah which is currently under-utilised and would benefit from new businesses operations.
The DA said 11 parking spaces were required by the DCP.
"The site has shared parking for the adjoining F45 gym, which also requires 11 parking spaces," the DA said.
"The existing parking at the rear of the site has space for 25 cars and meets the requirements...
"The existing parking at the rear of the lot is considered adequate for both business operating at the site.
"Additionally, the peak operational period for the F45 gym is typically early mornings which will not align with the peak operating periods which are anticipated at Mavericks.
"The proposal is not anticipated to significantly increase the level traffic at the site."
Comment has been sought from the operator.