Hotel Plans for Sydney’s Universal Studio Site


Element Property has lodged plans for a 23-storey hotel tower above the 1930s Universal Studios building in Sydney CBD.

The Sydney-based developer is seeking concept approval for the 220-key hotel it proposes above the heritage-listed building at 499-501 Kent Street, Sydney.

The brick façade of the art deco building will be retained and the lower levels converted into retail and hotel use, with the tower setback 8 metres along Druitt Lane.

There will also be an eight-level basement for car parking below the 811sq m site for 40 vehicles.

▲ The renders for a hotel above the old Sydney Universal Studios site.
▲ Plans to build a hotel above the old Sydney Universal Studios site have been on the cards for a number of years. Image: PTW Architects

The site has been listed for sale a few times in the past couple of years with another set of development plans attached.

The current owners, Saavtic Holdings, purchased the property in March 2020 for $52.5 million.

Many traditional buildings in the region have already been converted for commercial use, including The Primus Hotel at 339 Pitt Street and QT Hotel at 49 Market Street.

“The proposed adaptation [r]ecognises the heritage significance of this item and the current trend within the city of Sydney to adapt former commercial buildings with heritage significance for hotel uses,” the application said.

The heritage four-storey brick building on the 811sq m site was originally called the Universal Film Manufacturing Company Warehouse designed by Percy William Ritchie and built by Stuart Bros.

Related: Plans Lodged for Landmark Sirius Tower

A black and white photo of a four storey brick building with a Universal Pictures sign alongside a photo of the building today.
▲ An photo of the Universal Pictures building in 1937 and the building as it now stands.

Universal Pictures operated the floors from 1937-57, in the early 1990s a climbing wall and facility was built before it was leased to St Andrews Cathedral School in 2007 for offices and exam centre.

The basement was turned into a gym in 2012 and until recently was used as a camping and hiking store.

Nearby on 70-72 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills a development application for a boutique hotel has been lodged next to the former Twentieth Century Fox studios.

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