Acting as both architect and developer, Aplus Design Group have lodged a development application to the City of Sydney for a "micro" hotel on a 97 square metre site in Surry Hills.
The current building at 109 Foveaux Street had been used primarily for commercial purposes, but Aplus plan to replace it with a seven-storey micro-hotel, which will feature 12 rooms, an internal public courtyard and rooftop lounge area.
Aplus chief executive Tony Leung said that there's a real opportunity within Sydney for a flourishing micro-hotel market following major upgrades to tourist infrastructure and the attraction of new business to the city.
"There has been a major lack of supply in terms of boutique hotels around the 3.5 to 4 star range. This is partly because a lot of focus has traditionally been on those higher end products." he said.
According to Leung, due to an increasing focus on tourism in Sydney there is now a much greater appeal towards attracting a wider range of travellers, resulting in a push from the Sydney Council to promote more 3-4 star boutique hotel development.
Yet he believes this drive to create better and more diverse long term accommodation that supports Sydney's growing tourism market must be driven by the architect and developer first.
"Each of us within our cities have a responsibility to make them better places, particularly as architects and developers we need to think forward with a longer vision. We should be thinking less about the short term gain and more about what we can provide the city and, in doing so provide assets that actually create a better urban environment." he said.
Whilst Leung admits the scale of the site and approximate five metre street frontage are extremely challenging, he believes the opportunity that arises from being in close proximity to Australia's largest train station more than balances out the equation.
With access to Central Railway Station within less than 300 metres and the site surrounded by Surry Hills’ main retail and commercial services, Aplus saw potential in redeveloping 109 Foveaux Street into a modern hotel.
“The site is currently underdeveloped and has potential to achieve a greater use and capacity."
Where the hotel is located is on the fringe of the city in Surry Hills which typically has a lot of terrace style housing and AirBnb options yet there is a growing market for boutique hotels. This has informed the long term view towards the Surry Hills site.
Leung said it would be difficult to find someone to commit to operating an 11 or 12-room hotel.
"We took on the aspiration that as owners of the asset it was a way to share our personal passion and love that we share for the city."
We see [the hotel] as an investment for long term growth and not entirely driven by short term financial success. It's more about overlaying the right mix and the right product in the right location." he said.
With a much simpler building mix a larger emphasis can be placed on the efficiency and design of the product, which is the approach Aplus have taken towards the development.
It's about creating a product that melds into the surrounding context which, by their admission, is much easier to do with boutique hotel development.
"We see a hotel as part of the placemaking strategy of the city, as opposed to the individual experience you may gain by utilising a service like AirBnb. It's about using the site as part of the city and making friends with the neighbouring business, so effectively our hotel is a part of Surry Hills rather than just being located there."