The Nobbys Lighthouse cottages would be used by the Hunter Writers Centre for a range of activities under fresh plans to activate the dormant heritage buildings.
A development application on exhibition with Newcastle council until April 30 proposes a change of use for the three cottages to be used as a multi-arts facility.
The Lighthouse Arts Studio Spaces would "provide opportunities for artistic collaboration and creation for Indigenous and non-Indigenous visual artists, writers and musicians", and "be a unique cultural access point for residents and visitors alike to celebrate the city's identity as a creative, innovative lifestyle city", the planning documents state.
Under the proposal, artists would use studio spaces 10am-4pm weekdays, a gallery and store would open 8am-4pm weekends and public holidays, and a teahouse would open 9am-1pm weekends.
The "Teahouse of Silent Words" would be "a place of contemplation" where Indigenous teas would be served and customers would be asked to "opt for silence and to quietly read, write or do creative work".
The venue would operate in collaboration with the Deaf Society of Newcastle.
"It's very exciting. It is a heritage site and hasn't been used for a while," Hunter Writers Centre director Karen Crofts said.
"It's very multi-layered and we'll be unfolding a whole range of activities over time. We start off by occupying the site."
The plans for the site come after its owner, the Port Authority of NSW, sought community input about potential uses in late 2019.
Newcastle council handed the not-for-profit group a $135,000 grant last year to bring the project to life as part of its COVID-19 economic response package.
The lighthouse site is a prominent city feature but access and its use has been limited over the years.
Newcastle Now managed the buildings through much of the last decade, offering public access, but it lost its supervisor role in 2019 following a funding row with council.
Restaurateur Neil Slater abandoned a bid to create an eatery and viewing platform at the site in 2009 after pouring more than $300,000 into the project over eight years.
The plan was rejected in 2008 by then federal environment minister Peter Garrett.