Winning architectural design unveiled for prominent West End site

14 Feb 2022

A landmark design to reimagine the former Spotlight and Anaconda building has been unveiled following a targeted architectural design competition.

A three-member independent jury unanimously selected the innovative design by Plus Architecture for the proposed redevelopment of 711 Hunter Street, Newcastle West, which extends from Hunter Street to King Street and along the northern side of National Park Street.

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The winning design has an overall height of 90 metres and features 267 dwellings across two towers, as well as 1400 square metres of commercial floorspace and 322 parking spaces, with an estimated construction cost of $100 million.

Stand out design elements strongly supported by the jury include the ‘meeting place’ concept - a public domain to facilitate and encourage people to meet, and the visual link between National Park Street to the Army Drill Hall, with jury members also supporting the design’s warm tonal palette and horizontal staked layers.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the architectural design competition had delivered design excellence for the redevelopment of 711 Hunter Street which will lead to positive outcomes for the city.

“Newcastle’s city skyline is set to be further transformed when this significant redevelopment in the West End comes to life,” Cr Nelmes said.

“City of Newcastle congratulates Plus Architecture on their winning design and commends the joint venture partners, St Hilliers and The Spotlight Group, for their commitment to the ongoing revitalisation of Newcastle's West End.

“The construction associated with a redevelopment of this size will generate jobs and help buoy Newcastle’s economy which is a positive as we come up against the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and look to the future.”

Manager Regulatory, Planning and Assessment, Michelle Bisson said the competition will raise the benchmark of architectural design excellence in Newcastle.

“Ongoing revitalisation and development is continuing to transform Newcastle particularly in the West End, and 2022 is shaping up to be another exciting and busy year for our city," Ms Bisson said.

“Once constructed, 711 Hunter Street will boast a hallmark building that will stand the test of time for future generations to admire."

The architectural design competition was run by an independent jury process under the governance of City of Newcastle and the NSW Government Architect's Office. Consultants Urbis administered the design competition on behalf of property developers St Hilliers and The Spotlight Group.

St Hilliers Property Project Director Paul Smith said the design competition has been a great way to bring the best architectural talent and ideas to the fore for this prominent site in Newcastle’s West End.

“The quality of architectural design presented by Plus Architecture is really impressive and we look forward to further refining the design by incorporating the jury’s recommendations before proceeding to the next phase,” Mr Smith said.

“With a development of this significance, we will work closely with Plus Architecture to set sustainability targets and quality design outcomes during the more detailed development application phase, including a focus on thermal comfort, energy, waste and water.”

A development application for the site is expected to be lodged by St Hilliers and The Spotlight Group in the first half of 2022.