Developer suggests transferring density from Newcastle rail corridor

Doma Group spokesman Gavin Edgar says neighbouring property owners could buy extra floor-space ratio from the old Newcastle rail corridor to increase the density of their future developments.

Doma has lodged a development application for a 48-unit apartment tower called The Crossing next to the old rail line in Merewether Street.

UrbanGrowth NSW, the state government’s property corporation, has submitted a rezoning proposal to allow a mix of open space and development on the corridor.

“We’d love to see that part of the rail corridor preserved as public realm, rather than built form,” Mr Edgar, Doma’s general manager of development, said.

“Then the development rights that would have been in the rail corridor could be purchased or transferred to the neighbouring properties.

“The owner of that property would buy the floor-space ratio that would have been on the rail corridor and add it to their site but not increase the footprint of the building, providing it doesn’t go any higher than the maximum height limit.”

Referring to The Crossing, Mr Edgar said the “train’s already left the station on our one”.

“Our DA’s gone in now, and it’s just assuming it’s still zoned as a rail corridor,” he said.

“We could go to 30 metres on Merewether Street, but we could never get to 30 metres because we hit our FSR limit before we hit our height limit.”

He said he would like to see a “green spine” extend from Merewether Street to the proposed “Darby Common”, where the narrowness of the corridor made it unsuitable for development.

“It’s not very wide, not very useful. There’s only two logical buyers for every portion of it: the two property owners backing onto it.

“You try and put these skinny little buildings in there, but it just doesn’t work.

“If you start doing that [transfer SFRs], then you can encourage developers to … design a building that activates the rail corridor.”

He said money raised from selling the extra FSR could be used on beautifying the corridor.