Cedar Mill Group planning 22,000-person concert venue and wine museum for Pokolbin

PLANS: Cedar Mill Lake Macquarie at Morisset, which includes a restaurant, function spaces and yet-to-be-approved 30,000-person concert venue.
PLANS: Cedar Mill Lake Macquarie at Morisset, which includes a restaurant, function spaces and yet-to-be-approved 30,000-person concert venue.

The proponents behind the Morisset golf course redevelopment are planning a similar $40 million concert and hospitality venue "right in the heart" of Hunter Valley wine country.

Winarch Capital, which lodged plans almost two years ago for a $235 million mixed-use development on the former golf course, has revealed it is drawing up plans for a 22,000-person concert venue in Pokolbin.

Its newly formed Cedar Mill Group has also acquired one of Australia's leading event and production companies Humm - rebranded Humm Events - as its moves to streamline its operations and embark on ambitious expansion plans.

The proposed site for the Cedar Mill Pokolbin venue is on the corner of Broke and McDonalds roads, adjacent to winery and outdoor music venue Hope Estate.

Cedar Mill Group manager Kyle McKendry described the land as the "most premium development site in the Hunter Valley wine region".

"It's 105 acres of heavenly joy," he said. "You've got Bimbadgen, Hope and Roche already, and we're going to drop right in the middle of it. It's right in the heart of it all, but we're up there to do our own thing."

The development, plans for which will be lodged with Cessnock City Council in coming months, will likely include a wine museum or wine centre of excellence.

Cedar Mill Group's architect has visited "international-standard tourist" venues in Europe and North America to draw ideas for the site, Mr McKendry said. Planning Cedar Mill Morisset, which includes a 30,000-capacity amphitheatre, has also informed the project.

"It will be the first purpose-built outdoor amphitheatre of its kind in Australia, Morisset," he said.

"We've learnt a heap, and now when we do the Hunter [site] we can overlay that."

Mr McKendry said he expected the final Morisset development application to be approved before the end of the year, and work to start at the site early next year.

The Pokolbin and Morisset venues will ultimately be the first of "multiple venues" across Australia and New Zealand, he said.

Winarch Capital CEO Paul Lambess said incorporating Humm Events into the Cedar Mill Group was a "no brainer". Established in 2001 by Iain Morrison, who will remain with the rebranded company, Humm managed a range of events including a recent U2 tour, the Good Things Festival and Fire Fight Australia benefit concert.

"The challenge we have set ourselves as a business is to be the benchmark. We look forward to working with the passionate and experienced Humm Events team and ... growing this exciting and already successful event business," Mr Lambess said.

This story Hunter Valley venue Cedar Mill's next step first appeared on Newcastle Herald.