Newcastle CBD mall planner Julie Ritch resigns, but plans go on

URBANGROWTH NSW says its $400 million development plans to revamp Hunter Street mall will still be lodged by the end of April, despite the loss of its director Julie Rich.

The project includes plans for 400 apartments, 15,000 to 25,000 square metres of retail space and 5000 square metres of commercial space between the old David Jones building and Newcomen Street.

UrbanGrowth NSW media spokesperson Sara Wilson said Ms Rich, UrbanGrowth NSW development director, will soon leave the organisation for "personal reasons".

Ms Rich worked for the Hunter Development Corporation for 20 years before moving over to UrbanGrowth NSW in June 2012.

She was in charge of more than $150 million remediation projects and capital works projects valued at more than $380 million.

Her new role was to oversee the renewal of Hunter Street Mall, which is two-thirds owned by UrbanGrowth NSW, and the remainder owned by GPT.

Ms Wilson said the loss of Ms Rich would have no impact on the project's delivery time.

"We need to have someone based in Sydney to manage the organisation and relationships from there," she said.

"The project is gearing up, gathering momentum . . . Julie is still with us, handing over the project."

"We are restructuring the team, with more people on board."

A replacement project director had not yet been decided on.

Ms Wilson anticipated the project's first stage would be lodged with the Joint Regional Planning Panel, rather than Newcastle City Council, due to its size.

Both GPT's operations manager Cameron Tynan and manager Dwight Hodgetts were approached for comment but declined.

In an emailed response to The Star GPT said "we are very grateful for the important role that Julie Rich has played in the partnership that exists between Urban Growth NSW and GPT in Newcastle.

"We know UrbanGrowth NSW is now looking for a replacement for Julie and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the person who fills her position."

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