The latest piece of the transformation of Sydney’s convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct has received the green light from the NSW Government, with a landmark hotel given planning approval.

New South Wales Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner and Minister for Planning Pru Goward today welcomed the milestone achieved in the development of the International Convention Centre Sydney at Darling Harbour (ICC Sydney) Hotel.

Stoner said the hotel would create an impressive focal point for a revitalised Darling Harbour.

“It will be a spectacular addition to the new ICC Sydney precinct, helping to transform the area into a more vibrant and cosmopolitan part of our nation’s only global city,” Stoner said.

“The hotel will form part of the NSW Government’s $2.5 billion transformation of Darling Harbour, eventually complementing the high standard of events taking place at the new convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities right next door.”

Goward said the hotel would be a drawcard to the precinct for interstate and international visitors.

“The NSW Government is building a world-class convention centre and we’ve now approved a world-class hotel to match,” Goward said.

“This will be the finishing touch to the transformation of Darling Harbour.”

The hotel will feature:
-A unique and instantly recognisable architectural design marking the northern end of the ICC Sydney and western side of Cockle Bay;
-luxury hotel accommodation with up to 616 rooms to support the special event and tourist functions of Darling Harbour;
-ancillary bar and restaurant, ballroom and meeting/function centre, pool and fitness facilities; and
-a club-lounge within a sculpted roof feature

Construction on the 35 storey hotel is expected to start towards the end of 2014, with 350 construction jobs and 250 operational jobs being created as a result of the project.

Across the entire redevelopment, about 3,700 jobs are being created during construction, with a further 4,000 jobs on completion.

This is the third stage of the revitalisation to be given approval, with the first two elements – the convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct, and the first stage of the new urban neighbourhood of Darling Square – previously being determined.

Accommodation Association of Australia CEO, Richard Munro, says when built, the new hotel will enhance Australia’s business tourism offering even further.

“The new hotel is set to be a symbolic exclamation point in the critical redevelopment of what is a major piece of tourism infrastructure,” Munro said.

“Once built, the property – which will be one of the largest hotels in Australia by number of rooms (up to 616 rooms) – will be a driving force in increasing the economic benefits of the visitor economy such as long term sustainable employment to NSW and Australia.

“The Accommodation Association supports the construction of the new hotel in conjunction with the revitalisation of the convention centre as both will stimulate demand in this precinct.

“While leisure tourism is important, visitors travelling for business purposes – notably to attend meetings and conventions – are a mainstay for accommodation businesses.”

TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the hotel will allow Sydney to fully capitalise on the new precinct.

“The Darling Harbour Live project is set to transform the precinct, delivering reinvigorated public spaces and world-class events facilities that will boost the visitor economy,” said Morrison.

“Once complete, ICC Sydney will be the largest fully-integrated convention and exhibition facilities in Australia and it needs a world-class hotel to match.

“The hotel will not only provide visitors with a convenient and comfortable accommodation option it will also provide immediate and ongoing employment opportunities.

“As a result of the hotel the government expects there to be 350 jobs available during construction and 250 on-going operational jobs.

“Having an integrated precinct including the entertainment and convention centre, retail, dining and accommodation will reinvigorate Darling Harbour, attracting locals and visitors alike, and link the precinct to Chinatown, Ultimo and Pyrmont.

“This development will also help support the visitor economy which already directly employs 158,000 people across New South Wales and supports a further 109,000 jobs, contributing a total of $28.4 billion to gross state product.

“In tomorrow’s state budget, the industry will be looking for an increased commitment from the NSW government as the sector continues to work towards the Tourism 2020 target of doubling overnight visitor expenditure in NSW to $36.7 billion,” he said.

Further details of the project, including the owner and operator, are yet to be released by developer Lend Lease.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management