Derelict historic Newcastle Post Office to become function venue

The former Newcastle Post Office has a new owner. Picture: Robert McKell.
The former Newcastle Post Office has a new owner. Picture: Robert McKell.

Wealthy hotelier and cosmetic surgeon Jerry Schwartz is planning to convert the historic Newcastle Post Office into a convention and wedding centre after buying the near-derelict landmark for $3.5 million.

Dr Schwartz wants to return the sandstone building, which has been boarded up for at least a decade, to its former glory and plans a convention centre on the top floor and a one-stop wedding centre beneath with dress shops, florists, photographers and a coffee shop. The large basement would be used as an Aboriginal cultural centre.

Dr Schwartz bought the building from the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, which acquired the building following a successful land claim in 2014. But the Awabakal Council could not raise the money for the building’s restoration, which it had estimated would cost about $15 million.

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The businessman owns several hotels in the Hunter region, north of Sydney, and says his Novotel Newcastle hotel two blocks from the Newcastle Post Office has limited convention capacity.

Dr Schwartz plans to remove the Newcastle Post Office’s asbestos and reinstate its timber fittings and floors as part of a renovation, which he estimates will cost about $3.5m.

“I have my own team of builders — it should be done in two ­stages,” he said.

Dr Schwartz first bid for the Newcastle Post Office at auction eight years ago when it was passed in at $3.333 million. It was subsequently bought for $4.6 million.

Dr Schwartz is yet to obtain council approvals for his proposed renovations.

The post office was listed for sale late last year through Colliers International.

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