Newcastle has nation’s attention as interest grows in East End assets

AS 12 proposals for Newcastle’s dilapidated post office are being considered, another historic site in the city’s East End is set to hit the market.

Colliers International national director Adam Leacy, who is working with the Awabakal Land Council on the sale of the post office, will market 48 Watt Street.

The former church was built in 1905 and is being used as a function centre, bar and live entertainment venue.

Mr Leacy said there was no question that interest would be strong and would come from across the country, continuing a trend of city sites proving increasingly sought-after real estate.

“This building is leased through until October 2022 and it’s got endless opportunity,” Mr Leacy said.

“That’s because it’s future use could be residential development. It is zoned R4 high density residential. 

“It will be national interest; interest is always coming from nationally now. That’s probably been the last 18 months to two years and it’s increasing.”

He said events like Supercars as well as infrastructure investment was bringing renewed interest to the city, and its real estate.

“The new driver for the East End of Newcastle is outside interest in the city and it’s about affordability in the centre of town and close to the beach, whether it be commercial or residential, in my opinion,” Mr Leacy said.

“Big business has come to town and people are following on the back of the infrastructure investment into Newcastle and the region.

 “When you look at the assets, each has a different attribute, and the properties we’ve sold each offer different opportunities and that is why campaigns have been so successful.

“There are different buyer profiles and there’s confidence in people investing capital into older assets in the East End.”

Buildings in Church Street and Watt Street attracted around 145 enquiries collectively before both sold at auction in December.

The building at 35-37 Watt Street, which has an approved 17-room boarding house, sold for $2.685 million to a local investor.

The other building on the corner of Church and Watt streets, at 6-8 Church Street, sold for $2.01 million.

It had previously been used as commercial office space but has been vacant for the past decade. The local purchasers are believed to intend to restore the building for use as a residential home.

Twelve months ago, Double Bay-based property management company Eagle Property Group purchased side-by-side sites at 51-55 Bolton Street and 61 Bolton Street for $20.6 million.

One has a long-term tenant in the Federal Court of Australia while the other has been repositioned and is now being marketed for commercial use.

The managing director of Eagle Property Group, Lawrence Kopping, said when investing they choose a location “that will perform well in the future”.

“We felt Newcastle had more to offer than was being recognised,” Mr Kopping said.

“We felt that particular area of Newcastle would benefit from state infrastructure spend and the generational shift taking place and people into the future will tend to like to live in lifestyle precincts which allow them to work, play and eat, et cetera.”

Two other key sites in Newcastle were brought to market in the past week.

Expressions of interest have opened for the site of NBN television building, which was rezoned by Newcastle City Council in October to allow a seven-storey residential tower on the site at 11-17 Mosbri Crescent.

Council opened expressions of interest for Shepherds Hill Cottage at the top of King Edward Park on Wednesday.