The owner and operator of the 900-room, twin-tower hotel at the new AUD$2.5-billion International Convention Centre (ICC) in Sydney is set to be announced in April 2013 by winning consortium Destination Sydney and government body Infrastructure NSW.

When asked by HM at today’s (Dec 12) ICC Sydney briefing to the tourism and events industry, Destination Sydney’s CEO, Malcolm Macintyre, said plans would be released in April for the new, two-tower hotel that’s proposed to be built in front of the existing Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour.

“What we are looking at is having that all resolved by the end of April [2013],” he said. “And planning approval will follow from there.

“It’s fair to say we can’t reveal exactly [with whom] but there have been detailed discussions [with a number of parties].

“Part of it is investors will only go so far until you [become the] preferred [developer], or it won’t advance to the next stage.

“Now that we are preferred, we can move to the next stage and we are looking to have that wrapped by up the end of April.”

Destination Sydney was yesterday announced as the winning developer of AUD$2.5 billion ICC Sydney project by the New South Wales Government and is a consortium made up of Lend Lease, Hostplus, Capella Capital, AEG Ogden and Spotless.

The ICC Sydney development is expected to cost AUD$1 billion and the consortium will now “work with Infrastructure NSW and enter into a AUD$1 billion Public Private Partnership (PPP) to design, construct, finance, maintain and operate the convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities”, according to Lend Lease.

Lend Lease has also confirmed the PPP capital commitments “are fully underwritten, and Lend Lease will invest 50 per cent of the equity alongside Hostplus with debt being provided by a syndicate of local and overseas banks”.

While the PPP covers the new convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities, two further sites – one called ‘The Haymarket’ that will feature 1,400 apartments on the former Sydney Entertainment Centre site, and the other being the 900-room hotel – are being developed at a cost of AUD$1.5 billion.

HM understands a number of international and local investors and institutions are part of the advanced discussions.

What HM can also reveal from Infrastructure NSW documents is the government wants mid-scale and upscale brands to be located inside the 900-room twin towers, ruling out a luxury hotel on the site.

“There will be up to 900 hotel rooms directly adjacent to the ICC Sydney, with an iconic location on Sydney Harbour,” Infrastructure NSW writes in its fact sheet.

“The proposal incorporates two hotels in one. The hotels will share core facilities but offer two different price points – upscale and mid-scale.

“By providing different price points, the hotels will cater for the premium traveller and also offer a more affordable option for delegates.”

The 900-room hotel towers are currently proposed to be built next to the new Convention Centre and behind the existing Harbourside shopping complex, effectively where the small garden and taxi rank this.

That’s just twenty metres away from the current Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour, a hotel which presently has unobstructed views of Darling Harbour and the Sydney CBD skyline.

New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell has welcomed the redevelopment of the current Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, saying it is “one of the most exciting urban renewal projects the city has ever seen”.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management