The City of Newcastle has announced that the Ocean Baths restoration could see a $9.5million injection if approved by council next week.
The proposed funding is to come from the sale of three council-owned properties – the Frederick Ash Building on Hunter Street, and the neighbouring sites currently home to the Blue Door Cafe and the Clarendon Hotel.
It was announced last September that the City of Newcastle intended to sell or lease the properties and if the sale is approved by Council, the $9.5 million proceeds will be placed in a reserve to partly-fund the Ocean Baths restoration.
“Should the Council support the sale, then Blue Door and the Clarendon Hotel will continue as is, and the Frederick Ash Building will likely to be converted to tourist accommodation,” City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said.
“This decision allows for an adaptive reuse of the historic Frederick Ash Building, and further activation in the Civic Precinct. Importantly, its heritage is protected through the sale, given its listing on both local and state heritage registers. “
Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen added that Council’s asset committee had endorsed the sale of the properties, provided that those funds were directed towards the Ocean Baths.
“The engagement process to date involving the restoration of the Newcastle Ocean Baths has overwhelmingly shown that the people of Newcastle see the return to its former glory as an urgent project,” he said.
“While the impact of restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 have significantly impacted on Council’s income this year, with the sale of these properties there is money in the bank to get the restoration of the Baths underway.’”
The decision to proceed with the sale will go before Council on Tuesday 26 May.