When Newcastle City Council announced in late 2017 that it planned to move out of the landmark Roundhouse building, many wondered what would become of the unusual Brutalist structure.
The building was a funny shape, not exactly well loved by all and seemingly out of date as office accommodation.
The demolition crew was firing up the wrecking ball.
Enter Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud, who paid the council an eye-catching $16.5 million for the building and promptly announced plans to convert it into the city's first five-star hotel.
The jovial businessman said the wedge-shaped rooms would look like "lovely pizza".
On Wednesday, two years after buying the former City Administration Centre, Mr Aboud's Crystalbrook hotel chain opened the Kingsley with 130 rooms and a breathtaking top-floor bar and restaurant overlooking the harbour and Civic Park.
The hotel will stand as a litmus test of how much the city's transformation has improved visitors' perceptions of Newcastle. Will a five-star hotel work here? And will it work in this quirky building?
Another out-of-town developer told the Newcastle Herald on Wednesday that outsiders' opinions of the city often now exceeded those of the locals. This could well be the inverse of public opinion 20 years ago.
Presumably, much of the Kingsley's early trade will come from Novocastrian sticky-beaks keen to see how the love-it-or-hate-it building has been converted.
But, eventually, it will need a steady flow of incoming business and leisure traffic to sustain it.
Iris Capital's boutique QT Hotel in the old David Jones building is under construction, and DOMA Group is looking for a builder for its Little National Hotel in Honeysuckle Drive.
Both companies will be watching with interest to see how the Kingsley fares.
Mr Aboud's $60 million-plus investment in the city is welcome; more and better accommodation options can only improve Newcastle's reputation.
He has added diversity to the city's hotel and dining scene, created employment for more than 100 hospitality workers and greatly improved the appearance of a prominent building in the civic precinct.
The Newcastle Herald wishes the Kingsley every success.