A rendering of what was proposed to be the Ritz-Carlton Sydney at The Star.


Leading global architects FJMT have been selected to design the proposed hotel and residential tower at The Star Sydney which will herald the return of The Ritz-Carlton to the Harbour City.

A design excellence competition, overseen by a panel of industry experts, featured submissions from three major architectural firms with FJMT confirmed as the winner after detailed analysis and consideration of community and stakeholder feedback.

The Star Entertainment Group and its partners in the proposed development – Chow Tai Fook and Far East Consortium – will now work with FJMT on finalising a design for lodgement with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. The local community will continue to be engaged on the project as the design progresses.

The Department of Planning and Environment will be inviting public submissions on the final design when it is submitted for consideration and approval under the usual planning processes.

The Star expects to submit the final design to the Department mid-2017.

“We’re delighted this process has us on the path to delivering Sydney another world-class luxury hotel, and enhancing the city’s appeal to domestic and international tourists,” said The Star Entertainment Group Managing Director and CEO, Matt Bekier.

“I want to thank the five members of the Design Review Panel for bringing their expertise to the table.

“I also want to congratulate FJMT for a design so unique and contemporary, and of such widespread appeal in the feedback to date, that we feel sure this tower will become one of
Sydney’s most recognisable landmarks.

“It is a significant commitment from The Star, and our partners, and a significant contribution to this city’s tourism story.

“The tower and the associated developments will see the return to Sydney of The Ritz-Carlton, our room inventory at The Star increase to around 1000, and more than 20 food and beverage venues across a broad range of price points added to existing offerings.

“We’re proud to be working with The Ritz-Carlton and our partners Chow Tai Fook and Far East Consortium to deliver what will be a world-class hotel and tourism experience in one of the world’s great cities,” he said.

Following the first round of presentations to the Design Review Panel, stakeholders and the local community in mid-October, the competing architects were provided an opportunity to revise elements of their designs.

FJMT Design Director Richard Francis-Jones said the firm was delighted to emerge as the preferred architect.

“This is a very significant project for Sydney and Pyrmont that will figure the Harbour skyline and enhance the local streets and public domain,” Francis-Jones said.

“Our vision is for a beautifully sculpted architecture, that will seem to grow from the great sandstone of Pyrmont.

“It will be a unique tower, shaped organically in relation to the local environment and character. The form and profile adjusts progressively to preserve sun access into public space, mitigate wind effects, and to share views and amenity with neighbours.

“It will be a landmark for Pyrmont shaped by uniqueness of this special place,” he said.


The Star Entertainment Group will undertake the tower project in a joint venture arrangement with Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook and Far East Consortium, who are also its partners in the AUD$3 billion Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development.

Pending all necessary approvals, the tower will include an ultra-luxury hotel component to be operated by The Ritz-Carlton.

In addition to the tower, FJMT will also design associated development work to connect the hotel to the existing property. This section of the development will feature food and beverage venues plus a number of other attractions.

Investment in the project overall will be up to AUD$500 million.

A further $500 million of other improvements are already underway or in planning at The Star, including the comprehensive refurbishment of the Astral Tower and Residences, work on the arrivals area, and upgrading of internal spaces, including VIP facilities.

“As an international tourism operator, you face competition at a domestic, regional and global level,” Bekier said.

“If you want to be not only successful, but a leader in the industry, you need to invest and redevelop your assets to ensure the quality of experience is never compromised.

“That is the strategy we have adopted across all three of our properties in Queensland and Sydney.

“The Queensland Government has entrusted us with a $3 billion Queen’s Wharf Brisbane transformation project that we are undertaking with Chow Tai Fook and Far East.

“We are investing close to $1 billion, with potential for more, at the Gold Coast. Existing rooms have been refurbished, a new luxury hotel is under construction and an additional 200-metre hotel and residential tower is awaiting final approvals.

“The Star Sydney underwent an $870 million transformation that was completed in 2013 and now we’re investing another $1 billion to make the Pyrmont property an integrated resort to compare with any in the region,” he said.

“Our aim is to develop an integrated resort that reflects the unique character of our city and the design excellence competition, with early involvement from external stakeholders and the local community, is integral to that journey,” Mr Hawkins said.

“Now that we have a winning design, we look forward to the next stage of the planning and approvals process so The Star can continue to enhance the Pyrmont precinct and Sydney’s broader tourism appeal through a world-class development.”

The tower can commence upon receipt of all necessary approvals. Build time is estimated at 36 months.

Greg Hawkins, Managing Director The Star Sydney, was part of the Design Review Panel, together with: Peter Poulet, NSW Government Architect & Executive Director, Office of State Architect; Lisa-Maree Carrigan, Director, Group GSA; Craig Allchin, Adjunct Professor, University of Technology Sydney and Director, Six Degrees Urban Pty Ltd; James Doolan, Regional Vice-President Hotel Development – Asia Pacific, Marriott International.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management