McDonald's hopes to add another Golden Arches beside the Pacific Highway in Lake Macquarie as part of the planned $90 million retail and commercial development at Bennetts Green.
A development application for a new restaurant is under assessment by Lake Macquarie City Council.
If approved, it would be the fourth McDonald's in a 17-kilometre stretch of the highway, adding to restaurants at Swansea, Belmont and Charlestown.
The application confirms another proposed tenant for the 30,000 sqm Spotlight Group development, first unveiled in October.
Spotlight Group executive deputy chairman Zac Fried said at that time the development would create more than 600 jobs once open and 825 jobs during construction.
Mr Fried told the Newcastle Herald the project had been held up by delays in obtaining approval from Ausgrid and Roads and Maritime Services.
"If we had that already, today, I'd be building next month," he said.
"As an investor in the region I just want to build, I just want to get it done.
"But there's a process that we need to go through and unfortunately it's a bit slow."
Mr Fried said power lines on one side of the site needed to be moved later this year, but groundwork would likely start in the second half of 2019 for an expected opening in early 2021.
He said there had been strong interest from prospective tenants and only one showroom remained free.
He did not want to reveal the confirmed tenants, but a DA for the bulky goods stage of the development shows Nick Scali as part of the plans.
The up-market furniture chain has only one store in the Hunter, at Kotara, and appears set to add another should the development proceed.
The overall development, which would have access off the Pacific Highway via two intersections, was proposed after Spotlight Group bought the site following the collapse of an approved plan for a Masters hardware.
Spotlight and Anaconda stores, and a Bunnings Warehouse likely relocated from Belmont, were confirmed for the new centre last year.
Spotlight and Anaconda, which are both part of the Spotlight Group, will shift from an existing site in Newcastle on the corner of Hunter and National Park streets that the Spotlight Group will redevelop.
Mr Fried said the company had not decided how it would redevelop the city site but a hotel had featured in early discussions.
"It's definitely an option for us to do a branded hotel with apartments down the track," he said. "But at the moment it's still very, very early days. It hasn't been a main focus for us."