Doma Group has converted the residential component of its soon-to-be-built Honeysuckle hotel into serviced apartments in what it says is a response to strong demand for tourist accommodation in Newcastle.
The Canberra developer put 52 residential apartments on the market in early August under the banner “Halcyon” as part of its Little National Hotel development at 42 Honeysuckle Drive.
The units were spread over four floors above the five-storey, 154-room hotel on a site next to where Cottage Creek flows into the harbour.
A Newcastle property developer said on Friday that the city’s unit market had “tanked” in recent months after years of strong growth.
But a Doma spokesman said the move to convert the Halcyon units into 60 “luxury” serviced apartments was not due to slow sales.
“We now have the rail corridor site at Merewether Street, so we have increased the number of apartments proposed there,” he said.
“We will lodge a new DA early next year on that site and start demolition of the old Ice Box liquor building as per the approval we received this year.”
He said the company’s recent research on the Newcastle market had indicated a strong underlying demand for serviced apartments.
The expanded Little National is one of six new hotels planned for the inner-city.
Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud has bought Newcastle City Council’s “roundhouse” building and plans to turn it into the city’s first five-star hotel with 136 rooms.
Core Project Group is building a Holiday Inn in Stewart Avenue, and Iris Capital is looking for an operator for a hotel in the old David Jones building as part of its Hunter Street mall redevelopment.
The owners of the Great Northern Hotel are also looking for someone to run the 88 rooms in their art deco landmark, and a Sydney developer has lodged plans for 32 serviced apartments over six levels in a bold new building at 59 Darby Street.
The director of Doma Hotels, Patrick Lonergan, said demand for leisure accommodation was particularly strong on weekends in Newcastle.
“With over $900 million in tourism output annually, a five-year commitment from the V8 Supercars, a $12 million-plus cruise ship terminal being built, some of the best beaches in Australia, and the famous Hunter Valley wine region only an hour away, Newcastle is hard to beat for a holiday destination,” he said.
Doma is building a 230-room hotel above Wynyard Station in Sydney and plans to enter the Melbourne hotel market.
A tower crane will go up at the Honeysuckle site early next year, and the project is due to be completed in mid-2020.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.