The Nine Network has sold the NBN television studios site to prominent Newcastle developer Keith Stronach in a move which paves the way for a large apartment complex on The Hill.
NBN said it would lease back its Mosbri Crescent studios for about two years while it searched for new, modern premises and the move would not dilute its commitment to the region.
“An option on the sale of the NBN Newcastle site has been executed by leading local developer Stronach Property,” a spokesperson said.
“The property sale will settle in November, but NBN will continue to lease the property for the next couple of years as we look for a new location to lease in Newcastle. The sale of the site has no impact on our regional presence and commitment to serving the Northern NSW community.”
The NSW Department of Planning rezoned the site and adjoining land in Mosbri Crescent and Kitchener Parade to medium density in April despite resident concerns that proposed development was more akin to high density and would have a negative impact on nearby houses and Newcastle East Public School.
As part of the approval process, NBN submitted a concept plan which included a seven-storey, 170-unit complex. The site sits at the bottom of a steep slope leading up to the Obelisk.
The sale of the site has no impact on our regional presence and commitment.- NBN
Eighty-five residents signed a letter to the Department of Planning in January calling for a height limit of 10 metres – 16 metres below what was approved – and supporting an alternative, community-style residential development for the land.
Real estate agent Knight Frank Newcastle, which did not sell the land, said in its latest quarterly market report that the site had changed hands for more than $15 million.
Neither NBN nor property agents CBRE, which marketed and sold the site, would confirm the purchase price.
The Newcastle Herald contacted Stronach Property for comment.
The Nine Network sold its Willoughby studios in Sydney last year for $147 million to a partnership including Hong Kong developer Euro Properties.
The network will also lease back the Willoughby studios for about two years before moving into new premises at North Sydney.
NBN has been in Mosbri Crescent since it started transmissions in 1962.
The site is 12,230 square metres and can accommodate development with a gross floor area of more than 18,000 square metres.
Newcastle City Council supported the site’s rezoning in October before referring the matter to the Department of Planning for final approval.
Dr Louisa Connors, one of the residents opposed to the development, has submitted a freedom-of-information request to the council asking for documents and correspondence relating to the approval and is expecting a response by August 6.
She said the council had been overly keen to support the highest level of density on the site.