Newcastle development boom spreads to Brunker Road strip at Adamstown, Broadmeadow

ON THE RISE: The Centrale apartment block under construction at 65 Brunker Road is the first in a wave of high-density developments planned for the street. Picture: Simone De Peak
ON THE RISE: The Centrale apartment block under construction at 65 Brunker Road is the first in a wave of high-density developments planned for the street. Picture: Simone De Peak

Newcastle’s inner-city building spree is spreading to the Brunker Road strip, where property developers are planning more than 300 new apartments across eight projects.

The redevelopments, with a total value of $75 million, are in various stages of planning and construction, led by GWH Build’s four-storey, $8.7 million Centrale apartment block emerging from the ground at 65 Brunker Road, Broadmeadow.

Other development applications before Newcastle City Council include the $23 million, 84-unit Foundry project next door to the Adamstown shopping precinct, an $11 million, 40-unit plan for the Adamstown Motel site, and 40 units worth $10 million next door to Centrale.

Many of the Brunker Road projects in Broadmeadow and Adamstown are on sites where developers have bought up adjoining blocks in an area zoned for high-density living.

The development rush coincides with Newcastle City Council’s recognition late last year of Adamstown as a growth corridor in the city, although Brunker Road’s high-density zoning, height limits and floor-space ratios have been in place for more than five years.

The growth corridor plan included a target of 700 additional dwellings. Barely eight months later, the street is already well on the way to achieving that mark if the plans turn into bricks and mortar.

Sharon O’Rourke, of Adamstown Business Group, said she supported the shift to high density in the area as long as it was well planned. 

“Traffic is a concern. We do have traffic congestion issues in the mornings, but that’s mostly because people use Adamstown as a thoroughfare, and the roads are just not designed for the traffic that’s trying to use it,” Ms O’Rourke, who lives in Adamstown, said.

“I don’t mind the shift, but if there was one being built next door I may feel a bit different.

“Where I am I think I’m reasonably safe from having a massive thing next door.

“I was talking to someone the other day and they said it’s the way of the future. It will still be a nice place to live.”

GWH director Hilton Grugeon offered a simple explanation for why developers were building apartments along Brunker Road.

“People want them,” he said.

“We’ve been quite well satisfied with the take-up rate [of the Centrale apartments]. Sales are where we want them to be.

“It’s a lower intensity, lower height [than in the inner-city], but the transport’s there, access is there.

“It’s just putting more density of population into what has traditionally been single house on block. There’s a change in that neighbourhood to residential focus.”

The council is also weighing up dozens of DAs for townhouse developments in the suburbs’ back streets.

The council’s chief executive officer, Jeremy Bath, said the surge in development applications was partly a case of follow-the-leader.

“History has shown that when one developer takes the opportunity, others follow the lead,” he said.

“Certain types of development become more financially viable at certain times for varying reasons, including the availability of older building stock in need of renewal.

“Development can also depend on the ability to buy a number of adjoining properties and consolidate them to more fully take advantage of controls.”

​The state government’s Revitalising Newcastle program says an expanded light rail network could run along Brunker Road from Broadmeadow to Adamstown as the population grows.

Ms O’Rourke hoped that building design would be a high priority for the council and developers.

“My main thing is I want it to be done by builders who have an idea about architecture,” she said.

“Newcastle is not known for its architecture. You go to Brisbane and they’ve got beautiful architecture. We’re getting better, but traditionally we’re not super dooper.”

Brunker Road development

No.21: Four storeys, 28 units, $6m, DA submitted

No.65: Four storeys, 38 units, $8.7m, ‘Centrale’ under construction

No.79: Five storeys, 40 units, $10m, DA submitted

No.106: Five storeys, 20 units, $6m, DA approved

No.117: One storey, 6 units, $2m, DA approved

No.118: Six storeys, 47 units (affordable housing), $8.8m, DA submitted

No.144: Five storeys, 40 units, $11m, DA submitted

No.300: Five storeys, 84 units, $23m, DA submitted

Totals: 303 units, $75.5 million