Councillor Clover Moore speaking at a ceremony to mark completion of construction at Capella Sydney

Construction of the highly anticipated luxury hotel Capella Sydney has been completed ahead of its scheduled opening in March 2023.

After seven years in development, the former Department of Education building has been transformed into a 192-room hotel that marries storied architecture with contemporary design.

Developer Pontiac Land Group marked the occasion with a ceremony on Wednesday December 14, which was attended by guests from the NSW government, City of Sydney and the Singapore High Commission to Australia.

“It took seven years of planning, conservation work and renovations, and although not easy, the stunning result makes it worthwhile,” Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Clover Moore told attendees.

“When Capella Sydney opens to its first guests, it will add to the vibrancy of our Quay Quarter with its web of laneways and variety of venues in heritage buildings. A once strictly nine-to-five part of town will be alive around the clock, and the hotel will be a wonderful addition to the rejuvenated Circular Quay precinct.”

Australian artist Judy Watson created four heritage interpretation artworks which were unveiled at the ceremony.

The two-phase restoration project comprises two heritage properties, the former Department of Education building and Department of Lands building, collectively known as the Sandstone Precinct. Works on the latter are still underway and are expected to be completed in 2026.

Capella Sydney will then be extended into a mixed-use development with large-scale event and meeting spaces, curated retailers, as well as food and beverage venues.  

“The work on the Sandstones Precinct was a wonderful opportunity to make better use of government assets to boost the NSW economy with the creation of hundreds of construction and hospitality jobs,” said NSW Property and Development CEO Leon Walker.

“It also means these landmark buildings will, for the first time, be open to locals and visitors to enjoy.”

On completion, Capella will become one of the largest privately-funded tourism infrastructure projects in the state and one of the biggest job-creating foreign investments in Sydney.

An economic impact analysis by Ernst and Young estimates it will contribute approximately AU$1.2 billion, both directly and indirectly, to Sydney’s economic output.

One of Singapore’s pioneering developers, Pontiac Land is a privately-held real estate company that takes a long-term view on investments and engages local craftspeople in each project

Pontiac Land Group CEO, David Tsang, said the company was grateful for the opportunity to preserve these iconic buildings.

“We are thankful for the trust extended to Pontiac Land of these historically significant buildings,” he said.

“Capella Sydney demonstrates the Group’s expertise in architectural and heritage conservation, our commitment to be a custodian of Australian art and culture, and our beliefs in creating inspiring environments in partnership with the local communities.

“We look forward to unveiling this new landmark of luxury hospitality for the public to experience in March 2023.”