Honeysuckle HQ is set 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.
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 to gather market feedback in 2021.
This was followed by an Expression of Interest 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 look forward to announcing the successful partner soon. Construction will begin once the development is approved.
The objectives of the project are to:
- create a magnetic mixed-use destination
- create a great place that is connected
- respect and acknowledge heritage and culture
- demonstrate excellence in design and sustainability
- 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.
The last remaining waterfront development site, Honeysuckle Quays is located on the northern side of Honeysuckle Drive, at the Hannell Street intersection.
B4 Mixed Use under the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012
The zoning objectives are to:
- provide a mixture of compatible land uses
- integrate suitable business, office, residential, retail, and other development in accessible locations to maximise public transport patronage and encourage walking and cycling
- support nearby or adjacent commercial centres without adversely impacting on the viability of those centres.
The gateway development site, Honeysuckle Quarter is located on the southern side of Honeysuckle Drive, at the Hannell Street intersection.
B3 Commercial Core under the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012
The Honeysuckle quarter zoning objectives are to:
- provide a wide range of retail, business, office, entertainment, community and other suitable land uses that serve the needs of the community
- encourage appropriate employment opportunities in accessible locations
- maximise public transport patronage and encourage walking and cycling
- allow commercial floor space within a mixed-use development
- strengthen the role of the Newcastle City Centre as the regional business, retail, and cultural centre of the Hunter region
- provide for the retention and creation of view corridors.
The remaining lands also feature 2.03 ha of public domain, which we will transform in line with the Honeysuckle Foreshore – Public Domain Plan (PDF, 6.6 MB).
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.
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 social, economic 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.
- Honeysuckle Ideas – Outcomes Report (PDF, 4.7 MB)
- Honeysuckle Ideas – Outcomes Report – Executive Summary (PDF, 1.8 MB)
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 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 allow 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.
Frequently asked questions
HCCDC invited shortlisted development partners to go through a more detailed design and assessment process called a Call for Detailed Proposals (CFDP). This stage required the shortlisted parties to submit their detailed proposals in early 2023.
We expect to announce the successful development partner in 2024 once the detailed proposals have been assessed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 late 2023.
The development partner will then be required to obtain all planning approvals prior to commencing the staged delivery of this long-term project.
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.
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.