COULD the new owner of two blocks of the Hunter Street Mall also have designs on another historic Newcastle site?
Fresh from announcing his purchase of 1.66 hectares of the Mall – including the former David Jones building – Iris Capital chief executive Sam Arnaout revealed he has a high opinion of the city’s most infamous heritage building – the old Newcastle Post Office.
Mr Arnaout said his “passion” as a developer was working with heritage buildings, and lamented the building’s fall from grace.
“That's an amazing building that has unfortunately turned to rack and ruin,” he said.
“I think it would be a beautiful project to restore.”
Asked if he would be interested in the site, he was coy, saying: “it's not for sale”.
The building is owned by the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, which was placed in administration by the Baird government in October amid claims of “substantial breaches” of the Land Rights Act.
However the Newcastle Herald understands some members of the council had been looking to offload the site because of the cost of renovating it.
The Herald previously reported the plan – which was being driven by board member and former deputy chairman Richard Green with Advantage Property Experts Syndications, a Sydney company led by Rockdale man Hussein Faraj – would involve seeking favourable rezoning of land council land in Warners Bay in exchange for handing back the former post office to the state government.