New South Wales

Sofitel to manage Darling Harbour's new convention centre hotel

FRENCH hotel manager Accor will manage Sydney's new convention centre hotel at Darling Harbour under its luxury 5-star Sofitel brand, which will be the city's second Sofitel hotel and feature more than 600 rooms when it is completed in the second quarter of 2017.

The Sofitel Sydney at Darling Harbour will form part of the $2.5 billion redevelopment of Darling Harbour's exhibition, convention and entertainment facilities. Under the conditional agreement, Lend Lease will develop, build and sell the hotel to Australia's largest private hotel investor, Jerry Schwartz.

The hotel has been designed by internationally renowned Sydney architect Richard Francis-Jones, from Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT), in collaboration with the Lend Lease design group. The 35-storey building will include a rooftop club lounge, meeting rooms, ballroom and outdoor pool deck, as well as bars and restaurants.

NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner described the announcement as a milestone in Darling Harbour's revitalisation and a major tourism win for the state. "This will be the first large luxury hotel built in Sydney's CBD since the 2000 Olympics, and shows that Sydney well and truly has its mojo back," he said.

Lend Lease CEO and Managing Director, Steve McCann, said the project is the largest luxury hotel development in Australia, with around 600 rooms adding 215,000 annual room nights to the Sydney market.

"We are delighted to announce this agreement with leading hoteliers Schwartz and Accor to develop the first new luxury hotel in the Sydney CBD in 15 years. This is a major milestone in delivering the State Government's significant infrastructure project at Darling Harbour that will generate ongoing tourism and economic benefits to the city and State," Mr McCann said.

The $2.5 billion redevelopment of the 20 hectare Darling Harbour precinct includes the $1.1 billion International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), which will provide 35,500 square metres of exhibition space, a convention centre with capacity for more than 12,000 delegates, a ballroom with space for 2,000 people, a red carpet entertainment complex and a theatre with capacity for 8,000 people. ICC Sydney is due to open in late 2016.

At the southern end of the precinct, approval has been granted for a new urban neighbourhood, known as Darling Square. When complete, the $1 billion-plus neighbourhood is expected to include 1,400 apartments, student accommodation for 1,000 students, 20,000 square metres of commercial space, around 5,000 square metres of retail space and a 400-bay public car park.

Planning approval for the hotel was granted in June and construction is due to commence later this year, with completion expected in the second quarter of 2017.

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