Sofitel to Rise in Sydney

SYDNEY—The Schwartz Family Co. has signed an agreement with developer Lend Lease to purchase the International Convention Centre Hotel that is set to be built at Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

Construction of the 35-story hotel is expected to start by year’s end, with completion in second-quarter 2017.

The Schwartz Family Co. has appointed Accor to manage the hotel as part of its luxury Sofitel brand.

The hotel will be the largest new hotel to be built in Sydney in more than 20 years and will be an anchor in the establishment of the new Darling Harbour conference, entertainment, leisure and business precinct. 

Construction of the convention and exhibition center is under way, along with a number of other major infrastructure projects that are part of a $2.5 billion revitalization of the area.

The Sofitel is the first new-build hotel project that the Schwartz Family Co. has been involved with, and will complement its portfolio of 12 hotels.

The 600-room Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is being designed by architect Richard Francis-Jones, from Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp. The building will feature a lacework curtainwall façade of glass, and will have panoramic harbor and city views from a range of rooms. It will include a rooftop club lounge, meeting rooms, ballroom and outdoor pool deck, as well as bars and restaurants with views of Darling Harbour and across the water to the CBD skyline.

Announcing his decision to purchase the hotel, Dr. Jerry Schwartz, principal of the Schwartz Family Co., said that Sydney’s economy will benefit significantly as a result of the addition of such a large number of rooms adjacent to the new convention center.

“Sydney has experienced a room drought over the past decade, so this new hotel will significantly enhance the city’s ability to host major conferences and events,” said Dr. Schwartz.

“The Schwartz Family Co. has had over a decade’s experience operating hotels in Sydney, and with many of them being major conference hotels, the decision to purchase the ICC hotel is a natural progression for the company,” he said.

“The re-energizing of Darling Harbour has been long-overdue and the NSW Government deserves credit for taking hard decisions based around a long-term vision for Sydney’s future development. We will work with all the city and state authorities to ensure that the hotel is a showpiece for luxury accommodation in Sydney.

”We will also be seeking the rights to establish a helipad on the top of the Sofitel to allow more direct access. Such helipads are available in cities like New York, London and Melbourne, and it will significantly benefit Sydney’s business and convention profile to have a helipad developed at Darling Harbour.

“We will also be in dialogue with the authorities to introduce external lighting of the building, so that it will enhance Darling Harbour at night and put it on par with other major harbor cities, such as Hong Kong. The popularity of Sydney’s ‘Vivid’ highlights the need for a permanent light display in the city, and such an installation will help Darling Harbour become a truly dynamic and contemporary tourism and entertainment hub,” he said.