Honeysuckle HQ

We are continuing the urban transformation of Honeysuckle with the invigoration and future development of the remaining parcels of land at the western end of the city. 

Ongoing transformation

HCCDC is seeking an experienced development partner to transform the remaining Honeysuckle lands into a magnetic destination for everyone to enjoy.

Honeysuckle HQ aims to become a landmark and mixed-use destination that will anchor the city’s enviable waterfront to the new CBD.  

With high quality architecture and design incorporating accessible and dynamic offerings for both day and night, it will enhance the city’s cultural, social and economic objectives.
 

Our approach

Community and stakeholder input guides our approach to finding an experienced and highly motivated development partner to create Honeysuckle’s pinnacle offering.   

Our search started with a Registration of Interest (ROI) to gather market feedback in 2021.  

This was followed by an Expression of Interest (EOI) phase in 2022, where potential development partners were asked to provide their best and most innovative concepts for the site.  

We have now shortlisted the top concepts for a final design stage and expect to announce the successful partner in mid-2023.  

Construction will get underway once the development is approved. 

Project objectives
 

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Create a magnetic mixed-use destination
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Icon Connected
 
Create a great place that is connected
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Respect and acknowledge heritage and culture
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Demonstrates excellence in design and sustainability

 

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Be people focused and accessible

 

About the site

Honeysuckle HQ is located at the western end of the Honeysuckle precinct and includes two parcels of land known as Honeysuckle Quays and Honeysuckle Quarter.

 

Honeysuckle Quays  


The last remaining waterfront development site, Honeysuckle Quays is located on the northern side of Honeysuckle Drive, at the Hannell Street intersection.

Zoning: 
B4 Mixed Use under the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012  

Zoning objectives:

  • To provide a mixture of compatible land uses. 
  • To integrate suitable business, office, residential, retail, and other development in accessible locations to maximise public transport patronage and encourage walking and cycling. 
  • To support nearby or adjacent commercial centres without adversely impacting on the viability of those centres. 
     

Honeysuckle Quarter 


The gateway development site, Honeysuckle Quarter is located on the southern side of Honeysuckle Drive, at the Hannell Street intersection.

Zoning: 
B3 Commercial Core under the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 

Zoning objectives:

  • To provide a wide range of retail, business, office, entertainment, community, and other suitable land uses that serve the needs of the community.
  • To encourage appropriate employment opportunities in accessible locations. 
  • To maximise public transport patronage and encourage walking and cycling. 
  • To provide for commercial floor space within a mixed-use development. 
  • To strengthen the role of the Newcastle City Centre as the regional business, retail, and cultural centre of the Hunter region. 
  • To provide for the retention and creation of view corridors. 

    Public Domain


    The remaining lands also feature 2.03ha of public domain, which will be transformed by HCCDC in line with the Honeysuckle Public Domain Concept Plan.

    HCCDC engaged with City of Newcastle, government stakeholders, the University of Newcastle, the Awabakal and Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Councils, business and community representatives in the production of this Plan.

    The planning controls for the site are overseen by City of Newcastle. 

    Community engagement

    Honeysuckle Ideas


    In 2020, we invited the community to share their ideas and aspirations for how the final development of Honeysuckle lands should emerge, with a special focus on socialeconomic and environmental outcomes.

    The community identified bold and ambitious objectives that will guide the future divestment of the Throsby (Quays) and Wickham (Quarter) land parcels.

    Connecting with Country

    In mid-2022, we invited Aboriginal community members to join the conversation about how local Aboriginal culture and heritage can be included in the Honeysuckle HQ development.  

    The feedback gathered is summarised in an outcomes report that was provided to shortlisted potential developers. This information will help these developers incorporate Aboriginal culture and heritage values in their detailed proposals. 

    The successful development partner will continue to engage with the local Aboriginal community to embed an enduring connection with Country in the delivery and operation of Honeysuckle HQ. 

    Former Wickham School of Arts

    The former Wickham School of Arts building sits within the final Honeysuckle lands earmarked for future development.  

    The building was originally designed by Newcastle Architect, Peter Bennett for the use of Wickham residents. It was purchased by HCCDC in 2008 and is now listed in the Newcastle Local Environment Plan (LEP) as a heritage item with local significance. 

    We completed building repair works in 2022, which included removing hazardous materials and non-heritage components, adding a new roof, and making the building watertight. These works will enable the building to be repurposed as part of the Honeysuckle HQ development. 

    We've asked potential developers to incorporate the building into their proposals, provide adaptive reuse and run a design competition for the inclusion of public space adjacent to the building. 

    The future use of the building will be considered as part of the assessment of proposals and how well they deliver on the project vision and objectives. 

    Q.  Is Government selling the land? 

    A.  Government is seeking a development partner that has experience in delivering quality placemaking and design outcomes to create a waterfront destination where people want to be. The final commercial arrangements will be subject to this competitive process.

     


     

    Q. What’s happening now? 

    A. HCCDC has invited shortlisted development partners to go through a more detailed design and assessment process called a Call for Detailed Proposals (CFDP). This stage requires the shortlisted parties to submit their detailed proposals in February 2023.  

     


     

    Q. When will you announce the successful development partner? 

    A. We expect to announce the successful development partner in mid-2023 once the detailed proposals have been assessed. 

     


     

    Q. Will the whole site be delivered by one development partner? 

    A. The shortlisted development partners have each proposed to deliver the whole site (Honeysuckle Quays and Honeysuckle Quarter) to create a mix of placemaking, economic stimulation, sustainability, diversity and community benefits. 

     


     

    Q. How will the detailed proposals be evaluated? 

    A. Proposals must deliver on the project Vision and Objectives, and will be evaluated using the following criteria: 

    • Masterplanning and design 

    • Placemaking and activation 

    • Economic stimulation 

    • Transaction terms and risks 

    • Capability and experience 

    • Financial offer and security 

    • Environmental sustainability 

    • Social impact 

    • Heritage and culture. 

     



    Q: How much of the land will be dedicated to public green space?

    A. We have set aside $25 million and two hectares of harbourside land for community spaces including a waterfront promenade, two new parks and the naturalisation of Cottage Creek.  

    We delivered the first of these parks, Honeysuckle Park, in 2021. The naturalisation of Cottage Creek and the next phase of Honeysuckle’s promenade was completed in 2022. The remaining public domain will be delivered in stages to coincide with the surrounding developments.  

    While 2 hectares of green space will surround Honeysuckle HQ, we are also asking developers to provide additional public spaces within the precinct.  
     



    Q.  What social, environmental, and economic factors will be included in this development? 

    A.  Social - New spaces will be delivered that are attractive and accessible so they can be enjoyed by the whole community. We are encouraging potential development partners to consider innovative ways to integrate social equity into Honeysuckle HQ. This could include elements such as housing diversity, community places, active spaces and more.

    Environmental - Honeysuckle HQ presents an opportunity to set new sustainability benchmarks for the region. We have set minimum sustainability benchmarks and have identified four sustainability areas that have the most potential to deliver significant benefits:

    • Climate Change
    • Energy and Carbon
    • Water
    • Biodiversity

    Economic - Honeysuckle has already delivered a diverse mix of residential, commercial and retail outcomes, attracting $1 billion in private investment. Honeysuckle HQ provides an exciting opportunity to further diversify Newcastle’s day/night economy, providing enterprises that attract residents and visitors to the waterfront and CBD areas every day, every night and on weekends. We are encouraging proposals that inject new economic activity though the delivery of jobs, tourism and retail opportunities.

     



    Q.  How will you ensure a quality outcome? 

    A.  HCCDC is committed to delivering great places for the community. We are working closely with experts such as the NSW Government Architect to ensure design excellence is achieved.
     



    Q. How long will a planning and approvals process take before we see an outcome for the Honeysuckle HQ site? 

    A.  We will take the time needed to ensure we find the best development partner to deliver a great outcome on this site. We expect to announce the successful partner in mid-2023.

    The development partner will then be required to obtain all planning approvals prior to commencing the staged delivery of this long-term project.

     


     

    Q. What happens to the land in the interim? 

    Honeysuckle HQ will be delivered over many years and developers will be asked to consider temporary uses for the site. The temporary Throsby commuter car park will remain in place for the time being.  

     


     

    Q.  Are you ensuring that the former Wickham School of Arts building will be retained? 

    A.  HCCDC is mandating the retention and repurposing of the former Wickham School of Arts building as part of the Call For Detailed Proposals (CFDP) process. Developers are required to incorporate the buildings form and heritage value in their masterplans. We are also asking them to incorporate open space in front of the building.