The $3 billion revitalisation of Sydney’s Darling Harbour represents an exciting chapter in Sydney’s evolution.
Lendlease was announced as the winning consortium selected to deliver the new entertainment, exhibition, and convention precinct. Working alongside Destination Sydney Consortium (which includes HOSTPLUS, Capella Capital, AEG Ogden and Spotless Group Ltd) Lendlease will complete a number of projects along the 20-hectare precinct between Haymarket and Cockle Bay, and from the CBD to Ultimo.
The redevelopment aims to cement Sydney as a global city, remaining the first choice in the Asia Pacific for business events, conferences, exhibitions, and importantly, generating significant economic benefits for the city and state.
While the existing convention and exhibition facilities were once setting the benchmark in state-of-the-art design and technology, they have gradually fallen behind cities like Brisbane and Melbourne.
It was revealed in 2011 that for the first time Sydney was not the destination of choice for conferences and business events. A SHFA estimate found that over the last five years the city has lost $150 million in revenue, losing 170 conventions and 12 exhibitions that could not be accommodated by the current facilities.
And so the new International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC) was born. The $1.1 billion development will be one of the Darling Harbour precinct’s centrepieces, capable of hosting three fully separated, self-sufficient, concurrent events. With a total capacity of 35,000sqm, the ICC will hold Australia’s largest ballroom, hosting 3,500 guests.
On track to open in December 2016, Chief Executive Officer of ICC Sydney and AEG Ogden Group Conventions Director Geoff Donaghy said that although the international convention centre was set within its own precinct, the destination would be further bolstered by the growth of neighbouring finance, technology, media and student hubs.
“A world-class venue that will be underpinned by sophisticated services and people, ICC Sydney delegates and guests will enjoy the benefits of attending business and leisure events at the epicentre of a growing business, finance and innovation precinct along Sydney’s western waterfront,” Mr Donaghy said.
Sydney will gain its second Sofitel hotel with the opening of the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour hotel scheduled for 2017.
The new landmark will not only become a major addition to Sydney’s accommodation offerings, but it will provide quality accommodation and hospitality options for international delegates and business travellers, integrated as part of the ICC Sydney development.
Designed by the renowned Richard Francis-Jones of Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, the 5-star hotel will be one of Australia’s largest being 35-storeys and holding 600+ rooms. It will also feature a number of swish must-haves such as a rooftop infinity pool, external lighting and a helipad.
Behind the luxury hotel is the Schwartz Family Company, which already has 12 hotels across Australia.
Schwartz principal Jerry Schwartz has said the hotel would plug a “room drought” the city has supposedly been in the midst of for a decade.
“This new hotel will significantly enhance the city’s ability to host major conferences and events," he said.
“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 Lendlease residential development has already been a sell out success with 581 off-the-plan apartments selling out in less than five hours.
When complete, it will comprise 1500 apartments, an infinity pool and plenty of green public space.
Described as forming part of a new “cultural ribbon”, the neighbourhood will connect the precinct to many different corners of old and new Sydney. From Barangaroo to the new Headland Park fashioned from a former shipping wharf, to the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, the sights of Sydney surround the precinct.
The development will include new streets, new buildings, gathering places, shops, restaurants and bars. The precinct will also form connections that join the surrounding streets and transport with new public spaces in Darling Harbour.
The overall transformation of Darling Harbour aims to be the catalyst that has the potential to not only revitalise the site but benefit the city, state and country, radiating positive economic and cultural benefits.