In 2015, The City of Sydney gave its approval for a $1 billion mixed-use development on a 4,040 square metre site bounded by 1 Alfred Street, 19-31 Pitt Street and 31A Pitt Street.
Since that initial approval, Wanda Group, the Chinese commercial property company behind the project, have applied for a development modification in order to “capture the vision within the City of Sydney’s ‘Plan for Growing Sydney 2014’,” and “strengthen Sydney’s position as a global city and a great place to live”.
The modification application was submitted in October, 2016 and after extensive review, the City of Sydney once again gave its approval in May this year.
Wanda Group now has the ability to move ahead with a project, known as ‘Wanda Sydney’, that is sure to help define Sydney’s skyline and city fabric for generations to come.
Wanda Group officially announced the acquisition of the 1 Alfred Street and Fairfax House building’s in Sydney in 2015. Their plans were to invest approximately $1 billion to develop a mixed-use landmark project.
It was to be the company’s second investment after its Jewel project in the Gold Coast. Set in the heart of the Circular Quay precinct of Sydney’s Central Business District, The Wanda Sydney development would consist of a 57-storey, 184-apartment residential tower and a 179-room hotel. The project would have a GFA of 85,000 square meters and would also include commercial functions. The hotel component had a GFA of 20,000 square metres.
“The development will comprise a main tower with a height of 185 square meters, which is poised to become one of the city’s main landmarks upon its completion,” Wanda Group said in their original announcement.
“In the last two years, the company has sped up its overseas expansion by announcing Wanda Vista hotel projects in key international gateway cities such as London, Madrid, Chicago, Los Angeles, Gold Coast and Sydney.
“This growth is gradually positioning Wanda hotels as an emerging global player in the five-star hotel arena.
Wanda Sydney, originally dubbed ‘No. 1 Sydney’, was poised to offer spectacular views across the Sydney Harbour, the famed Opera House, Harbour Bridge and other well-known Sydney attractions. It was planned to settle a prime central location in close vicinity to first-class hotels, premium grade offices and financial institutions.
Wanda Group sought approval for envelope amendments to what became an approved 194-metre residential tower (Tower A) and a 110-metre hotel tower (Tower B). The tower’s concepts were designed by Kerry Hill Architects (KHA) and a collaboration between Crone Architects and Kengo Kuma and Associates (KKAA), who won the contract after submitting their designs in a competition against other internationally-recognised architecture firms.
Wanda Sydney’s proposal is located within the Alfred, Pitt, Dally & George precinct (APDG), and by amalgamating Goldfields House at 1 Alfred Street, Fairfax House at 19-31 Pitt Street and the Rugby Club 31A Pitt Street for its site, Wanda Sydney offered Wanda Group a new opportunity to look at the current APDG precinct and redistribute floor space across the consolidated sites to achieve better amenities for the precinct as a whole.
The proposal amendment meant that Tower A would address privacy/overlooking issues from upper levels and respond to the area’s wind conditions which would go towards improving the resident’s amenity. Tower B’s volume was ‘massaged’ in the amended proposal, creating a form that “smoothly connects city life, nature, and the urban landscape”. According to the proposal, this is achieved by subtlety rotating the building volume and it gets closers to the ground, and applying a finer grain layer of ‘pixels’.
“The development of Wanda Sydney will create a strong local and international community; the residential and hotel towers will generate much needed permanent and temporary accommodation within Sydney’s CBD,” Wanda Group’s proposal said.
“The proposed world class hotel will create employment opportunities in tourism and hospitality and supports the commercial growth of Sydney. Once realised, the APGD precinct will build on the already diverse range of visitors and residents, offering a lively and highly engaging public space.
“Here, residents, hotel patrons, international and local visitors will enjoy a diverse lifestyle and strong sense of wellbeing, whether this is experienced whilst having a drink at the rooftop bar, attending a function in the world class Hotel Grand Ballroom or simply relaxing in one of the vibrant laneway esplanades.
“The project is committed to produce the highest standard of architectural, urban, environmental and landscape design. Wanda Sydney’s Masterplan presents an integrated ground plane, offering boutique fine-grain retail and mix use programs to create a new destination for Sydney.
“The public domain and through-site link will incorporate high quality public art as a place making instrument to revitalise the precinct, as the part of the APDG, Special Character Area of Circular Quay.”
Wanda Group hope their finished product, yet to be determined, will respond to the ‘City of Sydney Sustainable Sydney 2030’.
Image Credit: bloomimages, courtesy Crone Architects