23 Feb 23

Plans lodged for “masterful” 59-storey Sydney hotel tower

Bligh St overview render

Developer Holdmark has lodged a State Significant Development Application for a sculptural 59-storey hotel and commercial tower in the heart of Sydney’s CBD designed by global architecture studio Woods Bagot with an estimated end value of $700 million.

Plans encompass a 421-room luxury hotel crowned by a stunning rooftop bar 200 metres above the site at 4-6 Bligh St, eight levels of premium office space, meeting and event rooms, retail, restaurants, and bars.

Woods Bagot’s design won a City of Sydney design excellence competition for the site, on which refurbished office building Bligh House now stands.

Graham Jahn AM, Director of City Planning, Development and Transport at the City of Sydney said the design “displayed a masterful architectural clarity and precision”.

“The slender hotel tower and infill podium will complement the extraordinarily rich setting of superb heritage-listed buildings that surround the site,” Mr Jahn said.

“These include the Skidmore Owings and Merrill designed former Wentworth Hotel, now Sofitel; the former CML Building by Emil Sodersten and former Qantas House by Felix Tavener of Rudder Littlemore & Rudder.”

Holdmark bought Bligh House – a 17-storey office building opposite one of the two pending Sydney Metro Hunter Street Station entrances – last May with the longer-term architectural vision in place, said Holdmark Chief Operating Officer Kevin Nassif.

It’s part of a diversification strategy for Holdmark, which started with residential projects in western Sydney 30 years ago but is increasingly moving into commercial, retail and hotel developments, including InterContinental Parramatta.

Render visualisations of 4-6 Bligh Street by Woods Bagot.

“We bought the asset purely on a commercial basis because we love the location, it has great development potential, and is 100% occupied, which indicates that quality well-located buildings will stand the test of COVID and test of time,” Nassif said.

“We’re also comfortable to run a strong planning process that’s now under way.”

Nassif sees a big future for tourism in Sydney’s CBD, which is benefitting from massive State Government infrastructure investment and a focus on regenerating the city’s night-time economy.

“There’s no question that Sydney is on the path to becoming a truly global city and we’re excited to be part of that,” he said. “We think there is enormous potential for tourism and that there is a long-term opportunity at the top end of the hotel market.”

Woods Bagot Principal and project design leader Ian Lomas describes the building as “a new sculpture in the heart of the city” celebrating the theatre of a hotel while maximizing views from the hotel rooms, which occupy levels 14 to 56.

“We’re extremely proud of this design which is the first project to take advantage of the Central Sydney Planning Strategy by the City of Sydney and allows us to get the height we’ve been able to achieve,” Mr Lomas says.

“We wanted to make a strong design statement and the architectural concept has been conceived as a simple sculptural form that contrasts against an unruly and congested skyline.” 

The sleek tower features a solid ribbed façade with vertical fins and recessed slot windows providing solar control, accentuating its profile, while the podium connects seamlessly with Bligh Street, inviting the outside in.


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Martin Kelly
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