Property developer John Stevens is poised to lodge plans for a "major facelift" of the Clarendon Hotel and 116-year-old Fred Ash building in Newcastle's civic precinct.
Mr Stevens and business associate Russell Raymond, the Clarendon's licensee, bought the adjoining Hunter Street buildings from City of Newcastle last year for $7.485 million.
Mr Stevens said this week that he expected to lodge a development application next month to convert the Fred Ash building into hotel accommodation and upgrade the Clarendon.
The Fred Ash building's ground floor would house a new bar linked to the Clarendon, a gaming area and a lobby.
The 1905 Fred Ash building, designed by celebrated Newcastle architect Frederick Menkens, is listed on the State Heritage Register, and the council said last year that the new owners would be "restricted to conservation principles" in any redevelopment.
Newcastle firm EJE Architecture is designing the changes, which include renovating the Clarendon and enlarging its rear beer garden.
Mr Stevens said consultants had completed heritage studies on the two buildings, whose size and height would not change.
The Fred Ash building was housing council office workers before they moved to Newcastle West.
The Clarendon and Fred Ash property sale has not settled yet, but the council will use the proceeds to help fund its planned renovation of the Newcastle Ocean Baths pools.
Newcastle restaurateur Peter James bought the neighbouring Bennett and Wood building, which houses his Blue Door cafe, for $2.015 million.
Hotel-style accommodation in the Fred Ash building would follow the recent opening of the Kingsley five-star hotel in the nearby former City Administration Centre "roundhouse".
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