Schwartz back on track for city investment

THE decision to cut the rail line has finally been taken. Let’s move.

That’s the message from Sydney cosmetic surgeon and accommodation tycoon Jerry Schwartz, who swept into Newcastle yesterday to settle on his $16.5million acquisition of the Novotel Newcastle Beach, and push ahead with his plans for multi-million dollar developments in the city and in wine country.

Mr Schwartz, the managing director of the Schwartz Family Company, which has a hotel and shopping centre division and a charity arm, said the state government’s urban renewal announcement last week was a watershed moment for the city.

But he said GPT and government developer Landcom – which are working on a plan to reactivate land around the Hunter Street Mall – and private investment would stall until real action was taken.

‘‘The decision is a catalyst for movement [but] get on with it,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ll probably push on regardless, but as soon as we get a definitive decision, then that will be impetus for me to expedite things, because there is no reason to take my time.’’

Mr Schwartz owns the Crowne Plaza Newcastle and almost exactly one year ago paid Richard Owen Investments $9.5million for a strategic site bound by Wharf Road, Merewether Street and Argyle Street, a move largely designed to gain access to more parking space for the Crowne Plaza.

Last month, Mr Schwartz lodged a development application to found a $2million brewery on a part of the site, and as part of the Ice Box liquor shop, a venture he hopes will open in early 2014.

Metres away, in a tract of land between Centenary and Wharf Roads, he also has a $24 million plan for a car park complex, conference centre and a 200-room, 3.5 star hotel. The hotel would tower over the Crowne Plaza. 

In addition, Mr Schwartz confirmed yesterday he will relocate Schwartz Brewery, a part of inner-Sydney’s Macquarie Hotel that he sold last month for $8million-plus, to the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, which he bought for $45million in September.

He is now poised to lodge a development application to set up both the vineyard brewery and build a new microdistillery beside it.

Mr Schwartz has applied for federal tourism grants linked to his projects in the Hunter, which he says he believes in as a tourist destination. 

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