More high-rise apartments planned for Newcastle as developers look west

The concept plan for the Cambridge Hotel site.

The concept plan for the Cambridge Hotel site.

Two more high-rise developments are on the way for Newcastle’s west end as property developers look to cash in on greater height limits and the Wickham transport interchange.

Newcastle City Council has received a development application for a 14-storey tower at 809 Hunter Street and approved a DA for an adjoining 15-floor unit block in Denison Street last year.

The $11 million Hunter Street building has just 22 two-bedroom apartments, two per floor, above three levels of parking and ground-floor commercial space.

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The $14 million Denison Street tower holds 58 apartments with three floors of retail and commercial space.

Both are close to the Cambridge Hotel, which is on the market for $9.2 million after the owners developed a concept plan for 153 apartments taking full use of the site’s 60-metre height limit and 6:1 floor space ratio.

GOING UP: An artist's impression submitted with the development application for 809 Hunter Street. The development includes two units per floor and a rooftop garden.

GOING UP: An artist's impression submitted with the development application for 809 Hunter Street. The development includes two units per floor and a rooftop garden.

All three sites are within a block of the Gateway office development on the corner of Hunter Street and Stewart Avenue, where the council will take up residence next year, and the state government’s Store site, which has the city’s top height limit of 90 metres.

On the other side of the rail line, Wickham is booming with hundreds of millions of dollars in apartment complexes in various stages of planning and construction.

They include a $125 million plan to convert Wickham Woolstores into 310 units, Thirdi Group’s $64 million Eaton On Union and $39 million Hannell Street Apartments, and Doma Group’s $37 million Bishopsgate development.   

Iris Capital’s $700 million redevelopment of the Hunter Street Mall, comprising 500 units, won concept approval from the Joint Regional Planning Panel last week and work will start on the DA-approved stage one in the next three months.

Doma sold out its 144 harbourside Lume units in five days at Honeysuckle, has bought the block next door from the state government for a 92-apartment project and has plans for a 48-unit tower in Merewether Street.

The Verve Apartment tower is under construction in King Street, as are a $43 million “vertical village” for seniors, childcare centre and Holiday Inn in Little King Street. 

Land west of Stewart Avenue appears to be the latest to catch the eye of developers.

The Gateway office building under construction in Newcastle West.

The Gateway office building under construction in Newcastle West.

John Palmieri, a co-owner of the Cambridge, told the Herald last year that the area was the “downtown Beirut” of Newcastle when he and two friends bought the pub for $1.075 million in 1991.

But the latest projects and the Cambridge’s price tag, albeit boosted by liquor and poker machine licences, suggest the area will find new life as a residential precinct.

The listing agent for the 14-storey building in Hunter Street, John Trzecinski, of Dotcom Property Sales, said the council’s foresight in transforming Wickham from light industrial to residential had helped reinvigorate the west end.

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