The NSW Aboriginal Land Council has signed off on the sale of the former Newcastle Post Office building to Sydney cosmetic surgeon Jerry Schwartz.
It follows a unanimous vote by Awabakal Land Council members last month to sell the heritage-listed building to Dr Schwartz for $3.5 million.
The peak body’s sign-off was required as a condition of the sale.
Land Council administrator Terry Lawler said the building was due to settle in December.
“Everyone is working to get the building opened back up to the community,” Mr Lawler said.
“It’s a very important goal from both the land council and community’s point of view.”
Dr Schwartz plans to create a function centre on the building's first floor.
The ground floor will feature wedding retail outlets such as dress shops, florists and photographers. The basement would be used as an Aboriginal cultural area.
Dr Schwartz, who described the project as a “labour of love”, said work on asbestos removal and other decontamination could start before Christmas with construction commencing in earnest next year.
“The first thing I want to get up and running is the Aboriginal cultural centre in the basement,” Dr Schwartz said last month.
Dr Schwartz owns several hotels in Newcastle and Hunter Valley. His bid was among 11 expressions of interest that were lodged for the 1903 building from hospitality and educational organisations.
The Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, which acquired the building following a successful 2014 land claim, had initially intended to use it as an Aboriginal medical centre.
It was passed in and later bought by the NSW government for $4.6 million before the NSW Land and Environment Court awarded the building to the Awabakal Land Council.
The council initially planned to use the building as an Aboriginal health centre, however, it was unable to raise the estimated $15 million needed to restore the building to a point where it could be occupied.
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