Malaysian real estate giant Mulpha’s $203 million plans to upgrade its InterContinental Sydney hotel overlooking Circular Quay has received concept approval by the state’s Independent Planning Commission.
Mulpha lodged plans for the multi-million-dollar revamp of its flagship hotel in February 2017, with plans to upgrade the hotel for the first time in three decades.
But concerns raised by both council and the public had centred around heritage and visual impacts of the project, with the City of Sydney opposing plans that involved building a grand ballroom over the heritage-listed Transport House, located between Macquarie Street and Phillip Street.
City of Sydney's opposition to the state significant development application saw it referred to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC).
On Wednesday, the commission said that the project “would not have unacceptable impacts on views” with “overshadowing impacts to the Royal Botanic Gardens minor in nature”.
The commission also added that “the proposal would not have an unacceptable impact on the future redevelopment of the Stamford Hotel site.”
The commission approved the application, including the construction of a grand ballroom above the heritage building, as it concluded that “the site and development was in the public interest”.
Mulpha chief executive Greg Shaw said the group was “excited by the positive planning outcome”.
“[We're] committed to delivering an iconic integrated Ballroom and 5 star Hotel that will re-enforce Sydney’s position as a global corporate and tourism destination,” Shaw told The Urban Developer.
In approving the concept plans, the commission said that the proposed Transport House building envelope was acceptable with a 20-metre setback, “provided it is contained wholly above Transport House” and that the heritage-listed building's envelope remained seperate to the Treasury buildings.
The Independent Planning Commission received a lot of attention late last year after rejecting The Star’s plans for a $529 million, hotel and 237-metre tower above its casino in Pyrmont.
Mulpha Australia acquired the InterContinental Sydney hotel as part of its $395 million acquisition of the Principal Hotel portfolio in 2004, which also included the Hayman Island resort.
The commission's consent of the concept application does not allow the property giant to commence physical works on the Sydney site, with consent for physical works now needing to be sought by Mulpha as part of separate applications.