City’s westward move delivers new era of modern service

03 Dec 2020

City of Newcastle has now closed out all four projects associated with its move to a new administrative building at 12 Stewart Avenue in Newcastle West. 

With the work complete, City of Newcastle can now report to the public on the total cost of each of the four projects. 

This decision is in keeping with City of Newcastle’s own long held plans and aligns with NSW Government priorities to shift the CBD west as part of the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan, while also providing modern facilities for its employees. 

The Roundhouse itself will reopen in early 2021 as the city’s first five-star hotel after being sold in late 2018 for $16.5 million (plus GST).  

The four projects delivered as part of the move to 12 Stewart Avenue include: 

  • office space for 450 staff (staff worked previously across three properties) ($8,389,994)
  • a Local Emergency Operations Centre ($2,173,982) 
  • a Digital Library ($3,267,465) 
  • a Council Chamber ($1,041,824). 

City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said the relocation was the first modernisation of the organisation in more than 40 years and had resulted in a better work environment, more efficient systems, greater flexibility and improved staff culture, providing an improved service for residents and ratepayers. 

It also enabled 450 staff who had been spread across three separate buildings and 13 floors to be working together under the one roof. 

“Relocating our City Administration Centre to Newcastle West has provided our staff with a new fit-for-purpose office featuring modern amenities, a flexible design, community areas and meeting rooms to encourage better communication and collaborative decision-making,” Mr Bath said. 

“Our Level 1 Customer Service Centre reflects our move towards enhancing the experience community members have when transacting business with city staff and has been co-located with the most digitally advanced library in NSW to provide our community with access to state-of-the-art technologies. 

“This space has been designed to double as the Council Chamber when meetings occur twice each month and is equipped with technology that allows for the community to directly participate in Council meetings without the need to leave their home. 

“A purpose-built local emergency operations centre was also created as part of our move to Newcastle West, providing a dedicated space where City of Newcastle can work with emergency services including Police, SES, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Ambulance and others to deliver a coordinated response to natural disasters and other incidents. 

“All these elements have come together to deliver an environment in which staff can make more collaborative decisions and therefore better serve the residents of Newcastle.” 

City of Newcastle was the first of four local councils to bring their administration centre up to contemporary work standards, with a frugal approach that compares favourably to the nearby projects. 

“Lake Macquarie City Council is spending $17.8m on their fit-out, Mid Coast Council has budgeted $20m and Maitland’s project is budgeted at $28m,” Mr Bath said.  

“The $8.3m spent on our relocation is evidence of the frugal approach we have taken, while the move itself also allowed us to identify cost effective co-locatable opportunities such as the Digital Library and LEOC, which if built elsewhere would have come at a considerably larger expense.” 

Mr Bath said the relocation paved the way for the revitalisation of the Civic cultural precinct and the sale of properties including the Roundhouse and the Frederick Ash Building. 

“The sale of these buildings has allowed us to direct significantly more funds into projects that benefit the community, with the $16.5 million proceeds from the Roundhouse going directly towards our record $116 million program of upgrading and improving key community assets,” Mr Bath said. 

“Another $9.5 million from the sale of three properties including the Frederick Ash building is being used to part fund the much-needed restoration of the Newcastle Ocean Baths, with the first stage upgrade to the pools and lower promenade starting next year.”  

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the relocation was in line with City of Newcastle’s own long held plans, as well as NSW Government priorities to shift the CBD west as a catalytic site in the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan.  

“This area is rapidly transforming into Newcastle’s new CBD. We’re pleased to be part of this strategic shift, which is not only revitalising a long dormant part of the city but is also allowing new life to be injected into our civic cultural precinct and some of our most treasured community facilities,” Cr Nelmes said. 

“Four projects have been delivered as part of the move to 12 Stewart Avenue, including office space for our administrative staff, a brand new, state-of-the-art Digital Library, the new Council Chamber, and the purpose-built Local Emergency Operations Centre.  

“This is designed to provide the best value to our residents and a seamless experience for all community members. 

“I would like to thank the following Councillors who along with me voted in favour of the decision to relocate the majority of our indoor staff to 12 Stewart Avenue: 

  • Councillor Matthew Byrne 
  • Councillor John Church 
  • Councillor Declan Clausen 
  • Councillor Carol Duncan 
  • Councillor Jason Dunn 
  • Councillor John Mackenzie 
  • Councillor Andrea Rufo 
  • Councillor Allan Robinson 
  • Councillor Emma White 
  • Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz. 
Project Final Cost
1. Relocation to 12 Stewart Avenue 

Project Management (APP)  

Design (Inc. design & cost consultancies, certification & approvals)  

Staff relocation  

Construction (Inc. preliminaries & margin)  

Carpet rebate under lease terms

$8,389,994 

$273,840 

$363,306 

$45,384 

$8,061,664 

-$354,200

2. Local Emergency Operations Centre  

Project Management (APP) 

Design (Inc. design & cost consultancies, certification & approvals)  

Construction (materials, labour, preliminaries & margin)

$2,173,982 

$154,830 

$167,924 

$1,851,228 

3. Digital Library 

Project Management (APP)  

Design (Inc. design & cost consultancies, certification & approvals)  

Construction (Inc. preliminaries & margin)

$3,267,465 

$248,483 

$261,215 

$2,757,767

4. Council Chamber 

Project Management (APP) 

Design (Inc. design & cost consultancies, certification & approvals) 

Construction (Inc. preliminaries & margin)

$1,041,824 

$83,365 

$74,633 

$883,826 

Contract administration (Graphite Projects) for all four projects, as well as associated costs including signage, flagpoles, etc  $2,749,827