Mayfield is experiencing a quiet rejuvenation with new business opening up, young families moving into the area and development occurring along Maitland Road.
Many business operators and residents are tipping a bright future for the suburb while hoping it maintains its existing "colourful" charm.
They predict the long-planned Coles supermarket development, which is less than two weeks away from opening, will drive further change and growth.
"Business brings business," Brook Motors owner Warren Pullbrook said.
Chair of the recently reformed Mayfield business improvement association, Mr Pullbrook said the area was on the "rebound" with a number of previously vacant sites now being developed.
"There's a lot happening," he said. "The streets have looked a bit average, but it's all being developed now.
"I think the street appeal will be miles better. It's onwards and upwards is probably the best way to explain it.
"We're looking forwards, not backwards."
Ross Mason, who relocated his law firm from Hunter Street to Mayfield last year because of a lack of parking in the city centre, reckons it is worth looking back.
Mr Mason, who grew up in Waratah and started his career at Mayfield in 1990, said the suburb was historically a working-class area with most residents employed in nearby heavy industries. While slowly changing, he said it retained a certain "grit".
"When I started work here, you still had BHP pumping out the dark cloud of dirt over your car," he said.
"The closure of BHP took that industrial edge out of the suburb.
"Over the past 30 years you've had this recognition, like places like New Lambton and Lambton, that Mayfield is a stone's throw from town.
"It's still got a bit of grit about it and I think it takes a lot of time for suburbs to cycle through.
"There's still a lot of older people in Mayfield that we see ... of the generation that either them or their parents worked at BHP. A lot of them are still living in the house that's been the family home for 50 years.
"But I think there is a turnover. Young couples are coming in and that will continue to happen."
Stag and Hunter publican Mick Starkey said the area had "become a little bit more affluent", but the "different levels and textures of the community still remain".
"That's its greatest attribute," he said. "I hate for it to be so sanitised and perfect that we lose all that. That's what makes Mayfield.
"It's got a high migrant population and all sorts of bits and pieces from all walks of life; from academia, arts and culture to tradies, professionals and families."
The change in demographics has prompted a number of cafes to open in the suburb in recent years.
Julia Perry opened Perry The Feeder cafe in the corner block site known as Muster Point about three years ago, attracted by the businesses emerging in the area.
"Mayf-life, it's cool," she said. "There's certainly some exotics that keep it colourful and interesting. Everyone has just got a really cool, down to earth and chill vibe.
"The biggest change I've seen is it has become more family based. A lot more families are moving into the suburb. Either coming back here from Sydney, or coming up here from Sydney."
Lane Campos estate agent Roland Campos said property prices were "shooting up like there's no tomorrow".
"Six or seven years ago, the average price may have been around mid-fours, but now you're looking at around mid to high sixes," he said.
"Open homes are just crazy, you're looking at 40 groups of people."
He said it was "on everyone's home shopping list".
"It is becoming a younger community," he said.
"I think the main attraction is the proximity to the city ... but you've got a lot of these period homes which are either untouched or really renovated. There's good transport, there's a train station over at Waratah that you can walk to and you've got convenient bus services."
Samantha Glover has operated Pork Ewe Deli for seven years and said "slowly but surely there was a little bit of gentrification happening".
"Cheap rent was probably a motivating factor," she said of why she chose Mayfield.
"To start with it was about creating a more destination business, but I think that is going to change a bit now as we benefit from foot traffic and Mayfield improving."
Ms Glover has watched the Coles development emerge across the road from her store and said she expected it to stimulate a more diverse range of businesses.
"It's definitely a big change," she said. "It's nice to see the work that is happening. It will be a lot better than an empty block. It's going to lift this end of Mayfield."
Dimitrios Papadopoulos bought a cafe at the western end of Maitland Road "four days prior to COVID". He said it had been a struggle to get through the year, but "the people of Mayfield have been wonderful".
"The suburb has an eclectic range of people," he said.
"But the beautiful thing about it is they all support one another. It's a lovely spot. There's no judgment. Everybody accepts everybody in this community, and it's pivotal to the growth and change of Mayfield."
Like most other business operators the Newcastle Herald spoke to, Mr Papadopoulos said he had no concerns about the amenities and infrastructure along the suburb's commercial strip.
He commended council for "keeping the area clean".
"The council workers are doing a wonderful job; the maintenance of the public toilets, streets, rubbish bins," he said. "Obviously investing in infrastructure over a period of time will be great."
Mayfield is identified as an urban renewal corridor in the council's Local Strategic Planning Statement.
A council spokesperson said the classification would "open opportunities to further densify key urban sections of the city", providing "more housing types, affordability and jobs".
Across Mayfield, Mayfield East and Mayfield West, there has already been 88 development applications worth a combined $47.3 million approved this year.
The council recently improved amenities at Mayfield Pool, will open a $1.2 million all-abilities playground at Stevenson Park this weekend and soon upgrade Dangar Park. The spokesperson said the Mayfield BIA would also be provided with $200,000 over the next two years for beautification works.
Mr Starkey said Coles would hopefully help fill a few empty shops and complement existing businesses, but Mayfield was rejuvenating "under its own steam".
Long term, he said light rail should be extended into the suburb to prompt further urban renewal.
"It used to go down Maitland Road," he said.
Coles Mayfield manager Amber Gourley said the company's new supermarket had been a "long time coming" but would finally open on Wednesday, December 9.
"We are incredibly excited to be opening the doors," she said. "In a time of such economic uncertainty, it's also fantastic that we're able to support the Newcastle economy by creating 112 jobs."