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Concept | CBD NORTH | Ivy Redevelopment (330 George St) | ~55st/~190m | Hotel

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Another nail in the coffin for Sydney nightlife?

From The Tele:

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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Reported in the SMH also:

Pub owner Justin Hemmes predicts it will be at least three years before he starts work on his $1.5 billion plan to transform his popular Ivy bar and restaurant empire in George Street, Sydney.

Mr Hemmes, who was awarded the Urban Taskforce Australian Property Person of the Year for 2018, said the Ivy site "was always bought as a development site".

"It is not imminent and we have not lodged any plans, but it was always my intention to redevelop the site with an office tower and maybe a hotel,'' Mr Hemmes said.

"It's on the cards. The redevelopment and upgrade of George Street, Sydney is a major opportunity and we will work to get investors and developers on board."
Mr Hemmes said it would probably be at least a "three-year process to get approvals before we pushed the button".

A City of Sydney spokesperson confirmed no plans had been lodged. The development would eventually see the Ivy's four floors and its well-known pool bar close, with a new offering being developed.

"We will start from scratch and given Sydney's strong demand for office space, an office tower would be a viable option, but I've not decided on the final outcome," Mr Hemmes said.

One investor, who declined to be named, said such projects would be attractive given "Mr Hemmes' track record and the location of the site".

As part of the long-term expansion plans, Mr Hemmes' company has paid a suggested $30 million for the adjoining property at 312-318 George Street, which would be used as part of the expansion plans. That deal was advised by McVay Property.

Mr Hemmes said he had a confidentiality contract and could not comment on the sale.

The potential redevelopment comes as Sydney's George Street is seeing a spate of new retail and commercial developments.

With the light rail getting closer to fruition, the strip will be a pedestrian zone and is tipped to attract a different style of business and retail offering.

Brookfield is undertaking a $2 billion redevelopment of the nearby Wynyard station precinct.

CBRE’s head of retail leasing for Australia, Leif Olson, said a new analytics service between CBRE and HYP, a mobile data management company, using more than 100 million GPS signals, revealed there had been a noticeably higher level of connectivity between Wynyard and the main retail precinct between King and Market streets since that section of George Street was pedestrianised.

"The data has shown areas that are positively impacted by pedestrianisation and which will benefit directly from increased flows of affluent customers shopping along George Street and the main Sydney retail precinct," Mr Olson said.
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