Planning Minister Rob Stokes says he is "keen to entertain" the idea of demanding more than apartments on the last, huge parcel of Honeysuckle waterfront land.
Mr Stokes was in Newcastle on Wednesday to cut the ribbon on The Station Piazza, a $6 million landscaping project beside the former Newcastle Station.
Hunter Central Coast Development Corporation is investigating how to use the final two hectares of land on the waterfront at Honeysuckle and will release the results of a community feedback program before the end of the year.
The vacant block has a 90-metre height limit, the city's tallest, and a generous floor-space ratio.
Mr Stokes said the land would go out to open tender and "it will be up to the market to respond".
So far the market has responded mostly by building multi-storey apartments along the harbour, but Mr Stokes said the government could dictate broader uses for the remaining land.
"I'm keen to entertain that," he said.
"I'll take some advice from HCCDC at the time, but I've seen the benefit of selecting tenders with the sorts of great outcomes the community want to see.
"I'm very aware that the highest and best use will always tend towards residential.
"I'd be keen to see a mixed use there, like the rest of the community."
"If there is the appetite [at Honeysuckle] for those sorts of things, then they'll come out of the woodwork," Mr Stokes said.
"We don't want to cannibalise the opportunities at Broady.
"It would be inappropriate for me to have a personal view, but certainly mixing up the uses a bit.
"The last thing I would want to see is a place that was dead at any times of the day.
"If it's overly residential, it's dead during the day. If it's overly commercial it's dead during the night."
Mr Stokes, who is also the Minister for Public Spaces, said The Station Piazza proved the government was right in removing the "scar" of the heavy rail line that ran through the city.
"More than two acres of land that was previously inaccessible is now able to unite the historic core of Newcastle city with the foreshore," he said.
The piazza sits on the former bus depot between the station and Wharf Road.
The broad, paved area includes a bandstand, "mist tracks" which light up at night and seating inscribed with Aboriginal art.
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