Light rail back on Newcastle council's drawing board as part of plan to revitalise CBD

NEWCASTLE councillors were called in for another confidential briefing session on Monday night as The Star went to print.

It is the second closed-door meeting to be held over the past week as the state government releases more information to council staff and the elected council about its $340 million light rail plans and $400 million Hunter Street mall revival.

Two options are on the table for light rail - one route will run down the existing rail corridor while the other passes through Hunter Street.

Lord mayor Jeff McCloy is pushing for the light rail to run down Hunter Street and turn the existing rail corridor into green space.

In other developments, three apartment blocks standing up to 19 storeys high will form the centrepiece of the CBD revival.

The apartment blocks are planned for the old David Jones car park, the old David Jones building itself and another on Newcomen Street.

The proposed buildings are almost three times higher than the current height restrictions, but developers UrbanGrowth NSW and GPT will ask Newcastle council for those guidelines to be lifted.

Cr McCloy said what he had seen of the proposal was "fantastic", but he could not reveal any details.

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