Downsized Ritz-Carlton Sydney back on the agenda

Less bulk, more keys in revised ultra-luxury hotel project at Pyrmont

Artist impression only

Plans for the re-entry of Marriott International’s ultra-luxury hotel brand, The Ritz-Carlton, to Sydney have been revived with the NSW Government understood to have approved a modified development proposal.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Sydney will grace the same site previously flagged in Pyrmont – a suburb billed as the “gateway” to the CBD, adjacent to the Darling Harbour precinct.

The modified Ritz-Carlton Sydney will stand at 110-metres and feature a signature restaurant, bars and other dining facilities and luxury hotel amenities.

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An original concept image of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Sydney released in 2018

Last year the NSW Independent Planning Commission quashed an original proposal by The Star Entertainment Group for the lavish 220-room hotel and 204-residential apartments, as an extension of Star Sydney.

The Star’s revised hotel tower has been dramatically downsized in scale – which was the primary gripe of against the original concept. But the actual room count of the property will increase by around 15 per cent, to 250-keys.

“In urban locations, 250 keys would be a minimum requirement, with rooms sizes ranging from 50sqm up to 300sqm for a presidential suite.” Ethos Urban’s submission on behalf of Star said.

“Higher ceiling heights are also a key feature of 6-star hotels, increasing the structural floor to floor height. Hotel amenities would include a signature restaurant, all-day dining, lobby bar and minimum of three specialty dining and bar locations, an executive lounge, gym, pool and spa.”

Artist impression only of the proposed North and South towers at Pyrmont

Separately, according to the framework of the Pyrmont Peninsula Place Strategy unveiled today [11 December, 2020] by NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, should Star “contemplate” lowering the standard of the tower below six-star standard, then the future hotel would only be permitted a maximum height of 60-metres.

The strategy states: “Residential accommodation is not supported on this key site. Reflecting the balance between public and economic benefit from the proposal and its location in a highly visible location, a tower of slender proportions exhibiting design excellence is required.”

Second hotel, apartments for a separate tower

A new second and taller tower on nearby Union Street has also been proposed. Backing on to Darling Harbour and the ICC Sydney, the 180-metre high structure will accommodate a separate hotel and apartments, along with new retail and commercial facilities on its lower levels.

Concept image of the original Ritz-Carlton Hotel Sydney

The second Sydney tower has the potential to be branded under the 4.5-star Dorsett brand. Star Entertainment Group has already aligned with Dorsett at its Gold Coast and Brisbane Queen’s Wharf projects where the hotels are under development.

In October, Star said it believed the proposed twin hotel and tower development “is expected to provide a far superior economic outcome than our original concept featuring The Ritz Carlton Hotel.”

Potential investment of $1 billion

A spokesperson for The Star Entertainment Group told LATTE “the gateway to the CBD can now hopefully realise its full potential.”

“Our proposed developments, subject to planning, could deliver two hotels and create around 2,000 jobs while also establishing new dining precincts to be enjoyed by both locals and visitors.”

“It’s a potential investment of $1 billion that showcases our commitment to helping Sydney get back on its feet and build the Pyrmont of the future.

“We look forward to continued Government engagement with the aim of delivering their vision for the area,” the spokesperson added.

Lead image: A zoom in on the artist impression of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Sydney 2.0 concept

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