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Sydney’s largest hotel for over 20 years announced – Sofitel to be key component in Darling Harbour convention and exhibition precinct

The landmark hotel will be the largest and most significant new hotel to be built in Sydney for over 20 years and will play an integral role in the establishment of the new Darling Harbour conference, entertainment, leisure and business precinct.

The Schwartz Family Company 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 storey hotel is expected to start towards the end of 2014, and it is due for completion in the second quarter of 2017.
 
The Schwartz Family Company has appointed Accor to manage the hotel as part of their luxury Sofitel brand.
 
The landmark hotel will be the largest and most significant new hotel to be built in Sydney for over 20 years and will play an integral role in the establishment of the new Darling Harbour conference, entertainment, leisure and business precinct.
 
Construction of the new convention and exhibition centre is already underway, along with a number of other major infrastructure projects that are part of a $2.5 billion revitalisation of the precinct.
 
The Sofitel is the first new-build hotel project that the Schwartz Family Company has been involved with, and will complement the Group’s existing portfolio of 12 hotels in three States and Territories, including 10 in NSW (and some 2000 rooms in Sydney).
 
The 600 room Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is being designed by internationally renowned Sydney architect Richard Francis-Jones, from Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT). The elegant 35 storey building will be dressed in a lacework curtainwall facade of glass, and will have panoramic harbour and city views from a range of large luxury 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 Company, 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 centre.
 
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 Company 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.”
 
The re-energising 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 to the precinct. 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. (Note for editors – a helipad operated in Darling Harbour up till the 1980s).”
 
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 harbour 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.
 
Mr Schwartz has been involved in a number of other integrated hotel and conference centre venues in New South Wales, including the Fairmont in the Blue Mountains and the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, where a new Conference and Events Centre is under development.
 
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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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