SHEPHERDS Hill Cottage will take a step towards a new lease on life on Wednesday when Newcastle City Council officially opens bids for how it should be used once repaired.
The 182-square-metre cottage, the former base of Marine Rescue Newcastle, has been mooted as a potential kiosk or cultural facility.
The site offers 230-degree views of Port Stephens and the Hunter coastline.
Council tradespeople are working to restore the site before it is leased for five years, a term expected to start early next year.
Submissions will be assessed before a successful applicant is named in May. All potential uses will have to comply with the site’s conservation plan once it is approved by the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Expressions of interest will close March 27.
Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said on Tuesday that the council was looking for someone to reimagine the timber structure as “a café or tea room, museum, art space, community use facility or for some other activity”.
"The cottage sits in a prime position on the Bathers Way, a 6km coastal pathway that rivals any coastal walk in Australia when finished,” she said. "We are opening it to the public as part of the council's priority coastal revitalisation project and long-term commitment to creating vibrant public places."
In December the council revealed it would seek proposals for how the site should be used in the wake of community consultation, which was supportive of a cafe or art space.
Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said at the time the process would help ensure the site bolstered Bathers Way as an alternative to Sydney’s famed Bondi to Bronte strech.
“Our mission is to rival the Bronte walk,” she said. “[The cottage site] is the most iconic missing link, it’s almost the midpoint of the Bathers Way.”
Newcastle City Council interim chief executive Jeremy Bath said expressions of interest would ensure the best option for the valuable site was picked, arguing the process offered “complete transparency”.
“The community will tell us what the best use is,” he said.
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