Grocon today confirmed it was considering an option for a hotel, serviced apartments and retail development for the IMAX site at Darling Harbour.
A development application was lodged in 2013 and planning approval was granted in 2014 for a premium office and retail complex called The Ribbon.
While Grocon is still pursuing office tenants, interest is also being sought from global investors for a hotel option.
Grocon’s Head of Development, Dan McLennan, said Grocon had purchased the IMAX site from Markham in early October and was now considering all options for the re-development.
“Multiple uses are permissible on the IMAX site, with the exception of residential. With the completion of the ICC Sydney next year and the fact there is significantly increased market appetite for hotels, we have decided to explore this as an option.
“We have been in discussions with Starwood Hotels & Resorts regarding a ‘W’ Hotel and we are also currently talking to a range of international investors. JLL Hotels Craig Collins and Dean Dransfield of Dransfield Hotels and Resorts have been engaged to facilitate this process.
“There is predicted shortfall of high-quality hotel accommodation beyond 2020 and tourism and business visitor numbers continue to grow so Sydney needs to have the facilities to meet their needs,” he said.
Grocon has declared its intention to submit a DA for the hotel option to the NSW Department of Planning.
The hotel scheme has been designed within the existing approved planning envelope. The planning framework allows separate DAs to coexist on the site thereby providing Grocon with multiple options to redevelop. Both office and hotel schemes provide for a new IMAX cinema.
“The Visitor Economy Taskforce Report identified the need for additional hotel rooms in Sydney to achieve the goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure in NSW by 2020. This proposed addition to Sydney’s room stock will certainly reinforce our city’s position as Australia’s tourism capital.”
“A new luxury hotel of this calibre will undoubtedly further strengthen Australia’s product offering. With inbound tourism performing so well and occupancies at record highs, it’s no secret that we require additional hotel stock to accommodate the expected growth in visitors to Sydney. Situated in the middle of the city’s redeveloped conference precinct, this is a prime location for both international leisure and business visitors and has the potential to generate significant economic benefits for Sydney and for Australian tourism more broadly.”
“Sydney would benefit from more hotel stock in the CBD and Darling Harbour precinct to better support the ongoing growth in international visitors, particularly those attending business events such as conferences. These visitors are the most high yield, so offering more accommodation which is walking distance to ICC Sydney, could be an important boost to the NSW economy.”