Hundreds of jobs will be created in Maitland's Central Business District if a development application (DA) for a $6.5 million, seven-storey, retail and residential complex gets the nod.
A DA for the development on the former Supercheap Auto site, on the corner of Bourke Street and Ken Tubman Drive, is being assessed by Maitland City Council.
It was lodged by the Panthera Property Group - the same group that purchased Maitland's Riverside Plaza (Kmart complex) in 2017.
The proposal is for retail outlets and a hotel entrance on the ground floor, with 86 serviced apartments of varying room denominations occupying the additional six floors above. The application also includes demolition of the former auto parts building.
Panthera CEO Chakyl Camal said representatives from his company attended a pre-DA meeting with council in February. That meeting sought to identify any issues with the proposal ahead of a formal DA being lodged.
Council flagged issues relating to potential heritage impacts, provision of car parking and potential impacts on the site from flooding.
Mr Camal said at a second meeting in May an amended DA was presented to council addressing those issues. "This resulted in a very positive outcome," he said.
He estimated 40 trades would be needed during construct, putting hundreds of construction workers on site at any given time.
He said that on completion, other jobs would be provided in the hospitality and retail spheres with the serviced apartments creating business opportunities for external feeder industries.
"One major hotel operator has already expressed a strong interest in running the site and we have had inquiries from many other big-name accommodation providers," Mr Camal said.
"We believe there has been an under-supply of this type of accommodation in Maitland for at least five years."
He said the development would 're-introduce' a heritage character on the site that currently does not exist, provide an enhanced streetscape and opportunities for passive surveillance and street activation.
On the issue of car parking, Mr Camal said 74 spaces are needed and they will not be located on-site but located at the adjoining decked car park, also owned by Panthera. He said this parking station is under-utilised with 213 parks available at any one time.
"This is particularly the case at night when most of the people who are staying at our development would use a car park and shoppers and workers would not," he said.
"We have been trying to engage with council to improve the efficiency of car parking in the CBD," Mr Camal said.
"We have had several meetings with council and I was called in on a consulting group council put together to conduct a parking review.
"We invited council to enter into a joint venture and discuss with us ways to build more parking in the CBD. We are now waiting for their response," Mr Camal said.