Former Jolly Roger Hotel marked for demolition

ONCE an icon of the city’s nightlife, now one of Newcastle’s worst eyesores, the former Jolly Roger Hotel has been formally marked for demolition.

Newcastle City Council has advised owners it intends to serve a demolition order for the buildings at the old Jolly Roger site, which includes the former Hunter Village shopping arcade stretching between King and Hunter streets.

The site is approved for a retirement complex, including a 17-storey tower, but the group behind the proposal revised its plans late last year.

Hunter King Developments wants to convert the site in the heart of the Civic precinct into a 265-unit residential complex.

In June last year, Chris Chapman from Hunter King Developments said the site could be cleared and construction could begin by the end of 2011 if the project was supported by the council.

Mr Chapman said yesterday he was still waiting on approval from the council, which he hoped would come within the next three to four weeks.

‘‘I’ve got a firm quote to demolish the site and fence it,’’ Mr Chapman said.

‘‘We can be on site bowling it over within eight weeks of getting the DA approval.’’

Since closing, the hotel has become one of Newcastle’s ugliest and most maligned sites.

The council said it had received and investigated a number of complaints about the condition of buildings at the Jolly Roger site since October 2007.

The site has been used as a haven for squatters, boarded up several times, and is a magnet for vandals and arson attacks.

‘‘The condition of the buildings has deteriorated significantly over this time as a result of continuing vandalism, including arson, and from the partial demolition of the building,’’ a council spokeswoman said.

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