High-density apartments in Newcastle CBD key to development mix

DEVELOPERS in charge of the Hunter Street mall revamp have moved away from a full-blown retail plan, opting to build high-density apartments, a supermarket, a cinema and a gym as well.

Three residential towers standing 19, 15 and 14 storeys high form the backbone of the joint $400 million project, prepared by the state government's UrbanGrowth NSW and commercial developer GPT.

GPT pulled the plug on its original $550 million Hunter Street mall plan 3½ years ago, citing the NSW government's failure to act on cutting the rail line for its decision.

With the new government committed to cutting the rail and backing the revamp financially, it is asking for community feedback to change building height restrictions across the city.

The tallest of the buildings on the old David Jones site (at 65 metres) will reach the same height as Christ Church Cathedral.

The retail component of the plans have been reduced from between 55,000 and 60,000 square metres to between 15,000 and 25,000 square metres.

Mine subsidence will present challenges for the developers, and will be addressed site by site.

The total cost of the mine subsidence work will not be known until the project is complete. Staged development applications are expected to be lodged with Newcastle City Council from as early as next month.

Community submissions are being accepted on the height restrictions until April 4.

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