A year after the US Government gave the city’s lease to the developers behind the $3bn Sydney Hotel to run for another 15 years, officials have warned the city may not renew it.
New York-based developer, L’Oréal, is due to break ground on the $2.5bn hotel, which is expected to be the world’s largest hotel by some estimates, on December 7.
It’s a big deal, said Andrew Hulme, executive director of the Sydney Hotel Association, which represents the hotel’s local residents and other stakeholders.
“I don’t think anybody’s really surprised at the fact that the City of Sydney is going to have to make some tough choices about whether or not to renew the lease,” he said.
“The hotel has done well and it’s going to be very hard for the city to justify maintaining it for the next 15 years.”
The lease expires on October 30.
The project’s developers say they are not seeking to build a new hotel on the site of the former Royal Botanic Gardens.
Instead, they are proposing a hotel and apartment complex called the L’Oreal World, a mixed-use development which will include a new public park, cafes and restaurants, and offices and retail space.
The L’Osores plan will include two towers, one on the ground floor of the hotel and the other in the top of the complex.
A third tower, expected to have retail space and apartments on the first and second floors, is expected for the site in the 2020s.
L’Orèal said it plans to build the hotel on an existing parcel of land, and that the project is already under planning approval.
However, the project has not yet been formally approved by the City Council.
Hulme said the council’s decision on the project would be “very, very tough”.
“It is very difficult to see how the project can be approved, let alone carried out,” he told the ABC.
“The council needs to look at this very closely and really make sure that this project is viable, and will be able to provide a real benefit to the city.”
The LOoreals are also seeking permission to build an underground parking garage at the site, which could be built on top of a vacant portion of the Royal Botanical Gardens.
New York City’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection has also launched an investigation into whether L’ Oréal’s proposal complies with building codes.
Lorraine Ziegler, who is a resident of the nearby New York City area, said she had no idea L’ Osores plans to break the lease.
“If the project goes ahead, it’s very sad because the people of Sydney are the ones who are going to pay the bill for the hotels,” she said.
“This will be a huge loss for Sydney.
We’ll have to see what happens, but we certainly will be concerned.”
You would think that the Government would be looking after the people in Sydney.
They don’t seem to be.
It’s just a sad situation.