The relocation of council workers to a new building in the city’s west has paved the way for Newcastle City Council to sell its City Administration Centre “round house” and the adjacent Fred Ash building.
Council will soon appoint agents to market both properties as council workers move to consolidate in one building at 12 Stewart Avenue, Newcastle West.
The brutalist CAC building, which is not heritage-listed, is known by multiple names including the wedding cake, the round house, the champagne cork and the shuttlecock, has become an icon of Newcastle’s CBD skyline since it was opened in June 1977.
A council spokesperson confirmed on Friday that there will be no retention clauses attached to the building’s sale.
Earlier this year the NSW government placed the brutalist icon Sirius on the market – ignoring the advice of architects and preservation bodies.
The CAC building has a net lettable area of 4,375sq m over eight levels with 55 car spaces. Estimates suggest it could fetch up to $13 million or around $3,000 per square metre.
"The future of these properties will be a turning point for what has long been considered the Civic precinct," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
"A more vibrant educational and cultural hub immediately opposite Civic Park, and across from the Art Gallery and Library, has long been part of the strategic plan for the city centre and will see students, academics, artists, thespians and tourists fill the space that has been occupied by Council employees for the past 40 years.
"It's been suggested that the Roundhouse building would make ideal student or academic accommodation, which would support the University of Newcastle's inner-city growth in both the Civic and Honeysuckle precincts.
"There's also been interest from the legal community in having more office space close to the Courthouse and from local architects intrigued by the CAC's brutalist design.”
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Built in the early 1900s, the Fred Ash Building is state heritage-listed for its Romanesque façade and for its contributory element to Newcastle's distinctive 20th century landscape.
A soon to be light rail stop in front of the buildings will add to their real estate appeal and both are also immediately across from the former Civic Station, which will soon become the main walk through from Hunter Street to Honeysuckle.
Developers have expressed interest in the Fred Ash Building as a potential boutique hotel. It has a total net lettable area of 1,271 square metres plus a loading area.
The availability of the two buildings comes at a time of unprecedented regeneration in Newcastle with $1.5 billion in building approvals this financial year alone and with $6.5 billion worth of infrastructure planned or under way.
Work on the $260 million light rail network has commenced, while major residential projects, particularly in West End, are taking shape throughout the city.