NEWCASTLE does not have the population to sustain the ambitious plans proposed by state government to revitalise the CBD, says the Property Council of Australia's Bob Dupont.
Mr Dupont, a Newcastle-based valuer and office-bearer in the Property Council of Australia, aired his views on the CBD plans at last week's Newcastle Institute forum on redeveloping Newcastle.
He was joined on the panel by Corrinne Fisher, from the Better Planning Network; DWP Suters architect Mark Fenwick; and human geography PhD graduate Tom Baker.
Mr Dupont said plans to develop the entire Newcastle CBD from east to west would be unsustainable for at least another 50 to 80 years.
A joint development application put forward by Singapore-controlled developer GPT and the state-government owned UrbanGrowth NSW for the east end includes three residential towers at least 14 storeys high, and between 15,000 and 25,000 square metres of retail space.
He said the number of apartments proposed was consistent with the anticipated market growth for Newcastle, but plans to redevelop office and retail space were not.
Mr Dupont cited Honeysuckle as a good example of how slow it was to redevelop an area, with only 12 buildings constructed in 20 years.
He said retail space was in oversupply and would need to be supported by a major department store and a supermarket for it to work, and it would largely draw customers from Marketown, which still had retail space available for rent despite being a recent redevelopment itself.