HUNTER STREET ARCHIVE FOR decades Latec House was known as the rotten tooth in the middle of Newcastle's smile. Maligned for 20 years as one of Newcastle's ugliest buildings, and at 58 metres the tallest block in Hunter Street, it was a reminder of the inner-city's decay. The high-rise building was designed in 1956 by well-known architects Peddle Thorp &amp; Walker and was once owned by property collector Theo Morris, who was famous for buying buildings and leaving them as they were found. Latec House had a chequered history. On the side of the derelict building was the infamous graffiti This is Not Art painted prominently in black capital letters on the sandy-coloured facade. It later inspired the name of Newcastle's annual This is Not Art (TINA) festival dedicated to the exploration of experimental and emerging arts. The graffiti came to represent the unique festival. Latec House stood untenanted from the late 1980s when Telstra moved out, until it was redeveloped by Sydney businessman John Waterhouse of the bookmaking family in 2005. One building was a remodelling of Latec House with a storey added and the second tower of 15 storeys was built from scratch. The $30 million project, eventually known as Grand Mercure Apartments, had 75 units for residential and hotel use. It opened in mid-2009. Last year the business was placed in the hands of receivers and the 4½-star hotel closed in February 2012. At the time the business was placed with receivers, 39 of the 75 apartments were still owned by Mr Waterhouse. Two-bedroom apartments were for sale ranging from $310,000 up to $905,000. Search online and you will some of them still on the market under the moniker Pinnacle Apartments.