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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Glad to hear the IVY is getting bigger and better, not gone. Don't understand the hate comments earlier either. i mean i don't frequent the club, haven't been once, yet it's the one place most people name drop when going out so obviously it needs to remain.
I think the reason people hate IVY is because it has become too rowdy and uncultured. Also, a lot of people started to complain that it has become stomping ground for Habibs and Habibis.
https://www.smh.com.au/business/com...-5b-george-street-empire-20181212-p50lu2.htmlPub 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.
Hemmes lifts lid on project
APRIL 03, 2019
Pub titan Justin Hemmes’s $1.5 billion redevelopment will dominate a Sydney city block, taking up to seven years to complete, with world-class local and international architects engaging in a design competition for the proposed five-star extravaganza.
In his first interview on the yet-to-be-named project, the billionaire said he planned a 52,500sq m tower opposite Wynyard Station, amalgamating his Ivy party palace and adding a substantial office component, a luxury hotel and an opulent hospitality precinct.
“I want to revive how we work, play and socialise,” Mr Hemmes told The Australian last night, having settled the purchase of the site late yesterday. He declined to reveal how much he paid for the George Street site.
But sources said the site — occupied by a St George Bank and sold by Westpac and a shelf company called Frisbee Pty Ltd — would have cost the billionaire more than $80 million.
Mr Hemmes estimates that gaining planning approval for the project could take up to three years and construction could take up to another four years.
“I have time to do this. I have time to get it right, time will create a better result. I am not under pressure. The business is going well,” Mr Hemmes said.
The Merivale heir would earn income on the site during the design and planning stages from the incumbent St George Bank branch.
But in a reversal of plans initially formulated in December, Mr Hemmes said he would not be undertaking any residential apartments.
“I am thinking no apartments,” Mr Hemmes said.
In the biggest bet of his career, Mr Hemmes also wants a development partner involved, who would have to “embrace his concepts” and “be very strategic”.
“I will look for the right partner to share the vision,” he said.
The pub baron, with a fortune valued at $1.05bn, went on a pub-buying spree last year and now controls about 70 pubs, restaurants and hotels. He paid $21 million for the Collaroy Hotel on Sydney’s northern beaches, about $23m for the Vic on the Park in inner-west Marrickville and more than $30m for the Royal Hotel on Bondi Road.
The redevelopment of the *George Street site, certain to rival nearby Barangaroo’s glitzy entertainment and office precincts, will probably include an expanded Ivy nightclub.
Mr Hemmes’s investment play is understood to be aiming to capitalise on the surging value of commercial office towers, which are trading at record levels as city rents have soared, even outpacing the strong performance of the hotel sector.
Mr Hemmes’s new property fronts 312-318 George Street.
Tenders, handled by selling agents McVay Real Estate, closed last August.
Mr Hemmes is not alone in taking a mixed-use approach to his new site.
Two of the biggest developments under way in Sydney *include plans by Singapore’s SC Capital for a $700m mixed-use hotel and office tower at 4-6 Bligh Street. SC Capital’s proposed skyscraper will incorporate a 400-room Hyatt-managed hotel.
The private Meadowbank-based Billbergia has also won *approval to build a 48-level North Sydney hotel and office skyscraper.
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Sounds like good news to me. More commercial in the CBD is needed and a hospitality precinct sounds great- especially with a night club