Adding to Australia’s $2.5 billion international convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct at Darling Harbour, plans for a luxury international convention center hotel will go along with construction of International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney.
Announced Aug. 26, leading international property and infrastructure group, Lend Lease, signed a conditional agreement to develop, build and sell the hotel to Australian hotelier Jerry Schwartz. French hotel manager Accor will operate the hotel under its luxury 5-star Sofitel brand.
“We are delighted to announce this agreement with leading hoteliers Schwartz and Accor to develop the first new luxury hotel in the Sydney CBD in 15 years,” said Steve McCann, CEO and managing director, Lend Lease. “This is a major milestone in delivering the State Government’s significant infrastructure project at Darling Harbour that will generate ongoing tourism and economic benefits to the city and State.
“Construction of the new world-class venue, ICC Sydney, is well underway and the adjacent integrated hotel will play a key role in attracting international conventions by offering convenient and complementary services to delegates.”
The agreement between Lend Lease and Schwartz is conditional. Subject to those conditions being satisfied, Lend Lease anticipates commencing site works later this year with the hotel due for completion in the second quarter of 2017.
With around 600 rooms, this is the largest luxury hotel development in Australia, adding 215,000 annual room nights to the Sydney market. The hotel will attract corporate travelers and tourists given its close proximity to the CBD, the creative and technology hub in Pyrmont, and the new financial services district at Barangaroo.
“Our company has played a significant role in the development of Sydney’s tourism and hospitality sector over the past decade, and we are now operating some 2,000 rooms across the city,” said Jerry Schwartz, principal, Schwartz Family Company. “Most of our existing hotels are major conference hotels, which makes owning and operating the ICC Hotel a natural progression for us. This is our first new-build hotel and our investment will play a key role in building Sydney’s reputation as one of the world’s premier cities for hosting conventions, exhibitions and events.
“As a proud Sydneysider, I believe the re-energising of Darling Harbour has long been overdue and the NSW Government deserves credit for taking hard decisions based around a long-term vision for Sydney’s future development. We will work with all the city and State authorities to ensure that the hotel is a showpiece for luxury accommodation in Sydney.”
The hotel has been designed by internationally renowned Sydney architect Richard Francis-Jones, from Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT), in collaboration with the Lend Lease design group. The elegant 35-story building dressed in a lacework curtainwall façade of glass, has panoramic harbour and city views from a range of large luxury rooms. It includes a rooftop club lounge, meeting rooms, ballroom and outdoor pool deck, as well as bars and restaurants with views of Darling Harbour and across the water to the CBD skyline.
“Accor has been at the heart of tourism development of Darling Harbour since opening the precinct’s first hotel in 1991,” commented Accor Pacific Chief Operating Officer Simon McGrath.
“We are proud that Dr. Schwartz has entrusted Accor to manage his most significant hotel investment in Australia and we look forward to operating a world-class Sofitel luxury hotel to complement the ICC Sydney and fulfil the Government’s vision of a truly international tourism destination. Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour will become a flagship luxury hotel for the region and Accor is extremely proud to manage the landmark hotel among our growing luxury portfolio.”