Justin Hemmes confirms he will replace Merivale’s Ivy with an international hotel
EXCLUSIVE, Amy Harris, The Sunday Telegraph
LEGENDARY party palace The Ivy will be knocked down and replaced by a giant hotel.
Hospitality king Justin Hemmes has confirmed the eight-storey Ivy will become a 55-storey international hotel.
Describing the plan as nothing less than “incredible”, Hemmes said the project, which is in the early drafting stages, may take years to complete. He said it would finish the dream he had when he bought the site for $22 million in 2004.
“I always intended it to be a holding development site,” said Hemmes, who admitted the 3000 sqm block has exploded in value. A property value estimation put the site at around $65 million.
“It is just a fantastic site. It’s got so much potential,” he said. “There are so many options available to us and it’s something I want to do properly so we’ll be taking our time.”
But Hemmes said the most likely scenario is a 55 storey hotel — the maximum under the area’s building restrictions.
He said he only intended on having the Ivy for 10 years.
“But (Ivy) proved to be more successful than I thought so this has come later than I expected,” he said.
“That was the reason I kept Ivy as a low-rise development … so it could be knocked down eventually.”
Recent developments in the area have made that prospect more appealing.
As for a start date, Hemmes would only say that design planning was “under way” and “beyond that, all options are being considered”.
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