The last slice of Newcastle rail corridor land the NSW government guaranteed would not be sold to developers is now on the market.
The government's Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation announced on Friday that a narrow 4125-square metre lot between Argyle Street and the Market Street Lawn is being sold as a potential apartment and commercial redevelopment site with a 14-metre height limit.
The government and Evolve Housing are building 30 affordable housing units on another section of the corridor, and the rest does or will contain the light rail line, Museum Park, Civic station visitor information centre, Darby Plaza, a small car park, Market Street Lawn, a cafe in the signal box beside Scott Street and the restored Newcastle railway station.
The government promised in 2012 when it cut the rail line that the corridor would stay in public ownership.
Newcastle City Council agreed to a government request to rezone the corridor to allow for private redevelopment in December 2017 amid strong objections at the time from Greens councillor John Mackenzie, who argued the land could still be used for future transport needs.
HCCDC said on Friday that selling the final block of available land would bring jobs and residents to the city.
"The long and narrow site provides the opportunity to create a high-quality streetscape that, together with residential and commercial outcomes, will help to attract more people into the city centre," acting chief executive Valentina Misevska said.
But Cr Mackenzie said recent history had shown the rezoning was a mistake.
"It was rezoned before we had an up-to-date traffic and parking report based on likely CBD developments, or an integrated public transport plan or a cycleway strategy for the end of town," he said.
"In the two years since, we've seen the impact of this decision on transport and access to the CBD, especially for cyclists and public transport users, but just as much for drivers. It is obvious that what little is left of the corridor should have at least some thin sliver reserved for current and future active transport needs, if we want to make it possible to travel to and through the CBD at all."
The land for sale has been named Rail Bridge Row in recognition of the AA Company Bridge that once crossed the train lines to take coal to the harbour.
Ms Misevska said HCCDC was "seeing more people move into the CBD to take advantage of new employment and recreation opportunities".
"HCCDC has recently created new public spaces like Market Street Lawn and Museum Park, as well as facilitating opportunities like the University of Newcastle Honeysuckle expansion and the Evolve affordable housing outcome," she said.
"Rail Bridge Row is another exciting milestone for the city, and we're looking forward to seeing what opportunities the market identifies for this space."
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here.
- IN THE NEWS
- NSW government selling final Newcastle rail corridor redevelopment site
- Newcastle 500 Supercars 2019: Residents fear flying debris after Scott McLaughlin's Gold Coast crash
- Newcastle records the highest levels of fine particle pollution of anywhere in the state
- A 'long, tough legal battle' by 1250 Australian women against pharmaceutical giant ends on November 21
- Clarke-Jones joins world-class big wave surfers for Big Mama challenge in Portugal
- New recruit Jayden Brailey excited about the move to the Knights after disappointing Sharks exit