It may be an eyesore now but the developers of the derelict Flash Palace building have given Maitland the assurance there will be something spectacular on the site within months.
The building has gradually deteriorated during the past 12 months with vandals and squatters trashing what is left of its fixtures and the interior after plans to renovate it were abandoned.
The property is owned by a Sydney couple and the development is being managed by Carlo Rossi of Newcastle-based Grand Designs Property.
Mr Rossi told Fairfax Media that a previous builder working on the site had to withdraw from the project and a new builder, Nulex Construction, had been appointed.
Plans to convert the prominent High Street business into shop top apartments were first flagged in 2013.
Maitland City Council approved 10 apartments in the Art Deco building at the eastern gateway to the $17 million Levee precinct.
“Nulex has now taken over the project with plans for occupancy by Christmas,” Mr Rossi said.
“Maitland people will start to see something special on the site in a few months.”
Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore described the building last week as an absolute eyesore and a blight on the city. However after learning that construction had recommenced he was happy.
“I am pleased a new builder has been employed. It has to be costing the developer a lot of money, particularly with no roof during the recent rain.
“Maybe some boarding would assist to hide the appearance,” he said.
Mr Rossi said plans for the interior of the building had not been altered.
He said 10 one- and two-bedroom apartments would be constructed, some single and some multi-level, the latter featuring a mezzanine and spiral staircase.
“We realise the building has been left sitting idle for a long time. Some builders don’t like taking over other builders’ jobs,” Mr Rossi said.
“We are confident we have sold all 10 apartments and Maitland people are about to see something very special.”