Developer Jeff McCloy said yesterday he would walk away from a $15 million to $20 million proposal for redeveloping part of a dilapidated Hunter Street because the conditions set by Newcastle City Council were unworkable.

Councillors rejected in a 8-5 vote on Tuesday night an application for a part seven-storey and part nine-storey commercial office development at 356-380 Hunter Street.

At 25.1 metres and 32.3 metres high, the building exceeds the 18 metre and 24 metre maximum limits set in the Newcastle Development Control Plan 2005 and Newcastle City Centre Local Environmental Plan 2008 respectively. Mr McCloy said yesterday the refusal was “a shame for Newcastle”, which would miss out on a much needed boost to Hunter Street. He would not pursue other options after already going through an exhaustive design process, consulting the council and making concessions to initial plans.

“The next stage is nothing,” Mr McCloy said.

“We will not pursue it any further. We’ll simply retain those [buildings] and sell them off.” Mr McCloy said he did not believe further modification would produce a desirable development proposal.

Newcastle Lord Mayor John Tate said yesterday he was pleased there was interest in building A-grade office space in Hunter Street, but the form needed to comply with guidelines.

“I’m disappointed that we’re not going to see a development there, but by the same token there’s an amount of preparation gone into what can and can’t be achieved on any site along Hunter Street and it’s a matter of individual applications and how they relate to that.” he said.

Source: Jones, J. (24 July 2008), Newcastle Herald