STREET works will start next month on part of Hunter Street Mall and around an adjacent block after Newcastle council awarded a contract for the $5 million project.
The elected council voted to award Statewide Civil the works contract at its ordinary meeting on Tuesday night.
The project is the first stage of the council's East End Public Domain Plan, which envisions new paving, bike lanes, landscaping and other amenity improvements right through the mall.
Stage-one works will take place on Hunter, Wolfe, King and Perkins streets and include stormwater upgrades, reinstating a kerbed road on Hunter Street, installing pedestrian and cyclist paths, along with smart lighting, public Wi-Fi and electric-vehicle charging points.
Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the council's vision was to return the mall to a "traditional high street" and make it an "attractive destination for locals and visitors, with outdoor dining and boutique retail opportunities".
When the council adopted the East End Public Domain Plan in 2018 it endorsed increasing the speed limit in the mall from 10 km/h to 40 km/h, but Cr Nelmes said she "expected the speed limit to remain the same".
Stage two to the east is subject to additional planning.
The council is negotiating whether its "Stairway to Heaven" project can be incorporated into Iris Capital's next East End development. If it proceeds, the stage two plans would need to be revised.
The council has opened a tender for the demolition of its mall carpark after structural assessments last year showed it was no longer safe for use.
Iris Capital development manager Jamie Boswell said the street upgrades would boost the mall's appeal to visitors.
"Like so many Novocastrians, we're thrilled to see Newcastle's historic mall come back to life with new development, residents, retail options and now improved public space," he said.
"The improvements City of Newcastle is making in the area means the transformation we're seeing through new high-quality development will be complemented by attractive and active public space for residents and visitors to enjoy."
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