A $43 million "vertical village" for seniors will be the centerpiece of an ambitious plan to transform Newcastle West into a thriving residential and services hub.
On Wednesday the Newcastle Herald revealed plans for a $26 million Holiday Inn hotel at the former Holden Car yard on the corner of Stuart Avenue and Little King Street.
However it has now emerged that proposal was just one piece of the jigsaw, with Core Project Group working on a masterplan for the precinct with Newcastle Council for more than six months.
If approved by the Joint Regional Planning Panel, it will see a 14-storey seniors housing development constructed adjacent to the hotel on the car yard site.
A 106-place childcare centre and a medical centre would front Hunter Street, together worth between $60 and $70 million.
At the eastern end, work is wrapping up on a $1 million refurbishment of the heritage-listed Drill Hall, with plans to turn it into a bar, cafe or restaurant. A pedestrian walkway will link Hunter Street to Birdwood Park.
"It's definitely an exciting project," Core Project Group Director Tom Elliott said. "Our focus is to come up with a really comprehensive plan for the west end of Newcastle that's going to be the best outcome for everyone."
The vertical village would include a 60-bed residential aged care facility, 74 two- and three-bedroom independent living units, 94 parking spaces and a ground floor cafe.
Mr Elliott said it would be the first of its kind in the Hunter, but the concept was already popular in the United States.
"There's a real demand right now as far as retirees are concerned to be able to downsize and stay in an area where they've lived most of their life.
"They want to be close to transport, to town, to have the right amenities as well as being able to receive care they need.”
The facility would be owned and operated by RSL Lifecare, a charitable organisation for war veterans, creating about 100 permanent jobs. Core Project Group has also been working with Council on plans for the revitalisation of Birdwood Park.
“It’s a great park but it’s not being used to its full potential,” Mr Elliott said.
Little King Street is a popular "rat run" for drivers trying to avoid the traffic lights at the corner of Stewart Avenue and King Street and Mr Elliott said council was considering a reduction in the speed limit.