In our February/March update, we’re looking at various pre-election promises regarding future local projects such as hospital, stadium and transport developments. We’ll also recap what’s been happening on the property development scene throughout our three key areas over the past couple of months.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian recently announced that the John Hunter Hospital would receive a $780 million redevelopment if the Coalition government is re-elected this year. The project would involve significant expansion of the site with new emergency medicine, cancer care and surgical services introduced. Fitting in with these plans for growth, the state government has also committed to spending $13 million on a full traffic interchange at the hospital.
Further visions for the future of the greater Newcastle metropolitan area were presented at a Property Council lunch in February by members of a Hunter Property Council taskforce. The study focused primarily on improvement of transport access sites to encourage future developments in key growth areas. Among the suggestions were extension of the light rail to Broadmeadow; new train stations in Kotara, Islington and Glendale; and the development of a new suburb at north Stockton.
Also in February, submissions from the public were invited regarding Stronach Property’s major new residential development, Sovereign Hill. A DA has been lodged for the proposed redevelopment of the current NBN Television site in The Hill, which will be vacated by NBN in 2020–2021. Sovereign Park will encompass 161 residential units across three buildings, 11 two-storey townhouses, and parking for 242 cars.
Other residential developments throughout Newcastle are going strong as we continue into 2019. GWH’s Sky Residences project, for instance, is now 50% sold, with the firm ‘quietly confident’ that construction will begin mid-year; and the second stage of Iris Capital’s Hunter Street mall redevelopment has recently been approved (116 apartments and five terraces). However, others haven’t been so successful – the planned 15-storey Onyx Apartments development on the former Empire Hotel site has been cancelled, with all deposits refunded.
The Lake Macquarie area has also received its share of pre-election promises. NSW Labor has pledged funding to the tune of $13 million for the next stage of the Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange at Glendale, should they be elected to government in 2019. Lake Macquarie City Council has also committed $6 million to the project, which will purportedly ‘help turn Glendale into a new employment “super hub” for the Lower Hunter, unlocking the potential to create over 3800 local jobs, 90 hectares of land for new commercial and light industrial development, and the construction of around 2700 new residences’.
The Liberals and Nationals have made their share of promises, too; upon re-election, the state government will commit to building a new $25 million indoor sports stadium at Hillsborough (on the site we mentioned back in our October 2018 update). The stadium would become the new home of Newcastle Basketball and potentially increase Lake Macquarie’s capability to attract elite sporting events.
Like Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, transport has been a key focus in Maitland over past months as well. Renewed calls have been made for a train station to be built near the new Maitland Hospital site to ensure accessibility, after continued council debate on the matter. With major work on the hospital to begin this year, transport advocates continue to push for a new station between the existing Metford and Victoria Street stations.
Transport on a larger scale is also on the cards for the Hunter Valley, with plans for the expansion of Cessnock Airport currently being considered. The Draft Cessnock Airport Strategic Plan, which was on public exhibition in January/February, details expansion that could lead to tourism and business booms for both Cessnock and Maitland.
In other plans for the Maitland area, Rutherford Mall is soon to be refurbished, with a $1 million facelift planned for the former IGA supermarket site. In February, Money Magazine named Rutherford as one of its top three real estate ‘hot spots’ for NSW, citing the suburb’s three-year forecast growth rate of 15% as a great reason to invest there.
Interested in chatting further about developments or the local property market? Wondering about branching out with your investments in 2019?
Get in touch with our Investment Services team today for objective information and insight.