Redevelopment of Empire Hotel Site Takes Two Steps Forward

30/05/2014 3:18 am

5482736-3x2-340x227NSW Minister for Planning Pru Goward has announced a minimum of 25 new affordable housing apartments will be built in Newcastle CBD as the redevelopment of the former Empire Hotel site takes two steps forward.

The NSW Government announced a proponent has been selected and Newcastle City Council has resolved to contribute funds to the project, which will deliver at least 25 affordable housing dwellings close to transport and jobs in the Newcastle CBD.

Minister for Planning Pru Goward announced local consortium “NewcastleFirst” has been selected to redevelop the site in Hunter Street West. The NSW Government is contributing the land value of $2.8 million to the deal, through the Hunter Development Corporation (HDC) which owns the land.

Ms Goward said she was pleased Council had resolved to contribute $2.9 million from its Building Better Cities Housing Management and Development Committee.
“The partnership between the City of Newcastle and NSW Government is an innovative approach to stimulating urban renewal and leverages private sector investment to transform this long-dilapidated site,” Ms Goward said. “This project will enhance the Government’s and the City’s revitalisation program, creating jobs and homes in the city centre.
“It will transform an eyesore into a positive contributor to the street-scape and the city economy.”

HDC General Manager Bob Hawes said the NewcastleFirst consortium was specifically formed to develop the site according to a design by local architects EJE Architecture.
“Under this innovative agreement, the developer will be incorporating a minimum of 25 affordable housing units into a larger residential building,” Mr Hawes said. “HDC intends to transfer its affordable housing units to Housing NSW to be ultimately vested in Compass Housing, a local affordable housing provider,” Mr Hawes said.

The building is planned to include more than 100 apartments of various sizes and a component of commercial/retail space. It would also include a number of accessible independent living units spread over various levels, giving choice for residents with disabilities.

When finalised, the NewcastleFirst’s development application will need to be assessed by an independent planning consultant with the recommendations to be made to the Joint Regional Planning Panel.