Newcastle council has given the green light to an $18.6 million commercial development in Tighes Hill.
The council unanimously approved the Stevens Group's plan for the 3.6 hectare site, on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Industrial Drive, at its development applications committee meeting on Tuesday.
The development includes two hardware or building supply stores, two takeaway food outlets and two vehicle sale or hire premises.
The Stevens Group, a Central Coast firm which has vastly increased its development footprint in the Hunter in recent years, lodged plans for the trade retail centre in early 2020 after signing a contract in 2019 to acquire the site from Mobil, subject to planning approval.
It has already developed a $3.6 million BP service station on part of the land, which once housed fuel tanks before a 20-year remediation program.
In a short discussion at Tuesday's meeting, Cr John Mackenzie (GRN) commended the Stevens Group for revising its plans to address concerns about traffic and parking impacts, describing the determined proposal as "much improved".
He asked staff why a site exit onto Industrial Drive couldn't be implemented alongside a left-in only entry, but they said Transport for NSW had advised the traffic impacts would have been too significant on the main road.
It's good to see rational development of that site, which has been a long time coming.Newcastle Greens councillor John Mackenzie
Cr John Church (IND) asked if the proposed 24-hour operating hours of the food outlets could be altered in the future if there were any late-night issues.
Staff said there was no such condition of consent and the hours were "considered to be satisfactory by police and council's environmental team with regard to noise and anti-social behaviour".
The meeting papers and the DA do not reveal which traders will occupy the buildings, but Stevens Group project director Brett Harrod told the Newcastle Herald last year there had been strong interest from a variety of businesses.
"We've had 13 expressions of interest for the trade-based retail," he said, adding one national food brand had been locked in.
"We're just working on another one. National users, all the usual suspects, Mexican, chicken, burgers," he said.
The council also approved another Stevens Group project - a three-lot subdivision of a site known as the Black Hill Employment Lands.
A subsequent 62-lot industrial subdivision was part of the DA, which was a revised plan to the one lodged in 2018 that proposed 200 lots across the site in eight stages.
It ended up in the Land and Environment Court and was ultimately refused due to likely traffic impacts. The 183-hectare site won state concept approval for use as "employment land" in 2013.