The race is on to open Newcastle's first five-star hotel.
Industry sources have told the Newcastle Herald that Iris, the company behind the $700 million Hunter Street mall redevelopment, has locked in a hotel operator for the former David Jones building.
Iris chief executive officer Sam Arnaout said in August last year that the company was "seriously investigating the feasibility of putting a hotel into this asset".
"We are very strongly passionate about delivering that as a five-star hotel within this complex," he said.
The city's other five-star hotel project is Crystalbrook Collection's plan for a 130-room establishment, to be known as the Kingsley, in the City Administration Centre "roundhouse" in King Street.
Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud's Australian hotel chain has lodged a development application for the landmark building which includes two extra floors for a restaurant, pool and plant equipment.
Crystalbrook plans to start work on remodelling and fitting out the CAC when City of Newcastle staff move out in October, though the Herald reported last month that doubts had emerged over whether council planners will approve the new six-metre glass addition to the building.
Elsewhere in the CBD, Doma Group has started work on its 140-room Little National Hotel at Honeysuckle, and the 170-room Holiday Inn Express opened in Newcastle West last month.
Great Northern Hotel owner Bass Elhashem also hopes to open an 88-room boutique hotel in the art deco building's upper floors after its downstairs bars reopened last year.
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