The Sandstones to become world class hotel, complete with rooftop salon
Since the late 1800s, one of Sydney’s grandest sandstone landmarks has been closed to the public, used for little more than government offices.
Fast forward to 2020 and every Sydneysider – public servant or otherwise – will be able to enjoy a rooftop drink at the site, which is set to become a “world-leading hotel”.
The heritage-listed ‘Sandstones,’ or the Lands and Education buildings on Bridge Street in Sydney’s CBD, will undergo a dramatic transformation from the end of 2017, when Singaporean developer Pontiac begins a $300 million redevelopment.
Designs unveiled on Thursday show ground-level retail, dining and a rooftop salon in the Lands building, to be open to the public, while more than 250 hotel rooms and suites are included in the plans for both buildings.
“For many years we’ve had these beautiful sandstone buildings closed to the public, housing bureaucrats and prime CBD real estate…it’s a tragedy,” said the NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet.
“Thanks to this stunning restoration you will get to experience their history and grandeur first-hand.”
A rooftop winter garden, refurbished domes and temples, an octagonal meeting room, and a reopened horse and carriageway, closed since the 1950s, will form part of the updated features of the sandstone site.
Development plans for the Sandstones will need to comply with Conservation Management Plans, endorsed by the NSW Heritage Council.
Make Architects, which previously worked on the reinvented Wynyard Station precinct has been appointed to the project, which it describes as an “archaeological investigation”.
“When you are designing a project within a historic building you have to listen to that building,” said Make’s lead architect, Ian Lomas.
“Treat it like an archeological investigation. You go right back to the first architecture sketches and you follow them through to the current day…[refurbishing] shouldn’t mean you are trying to eliminate previous generations…but adding another layer of your generation…of your time.”
Mr Lomas said that some of his favourite elements of the building included the rooftop, observatory and staircases, which are currently covered in black lino, but underneath reveal “wonderful pressed patterns based on Australian plants”.
Modelling from Deloitte Access Economics estimates that Pontiac’s hotel development will deliver a boost to the NSW economy of more than $185 million over 20 years, creating 110 new hospitality jobs and 240 jobs during construction.
The Singaporean developer has previously worked in the adaptive re-use of heritage buildings, including the flagship Capella Hotel in Singapore.
Pontiac will pay Government Property NSW $35 million for the 103-year lease, and the government offices will be relocated to Parramatta.
The story The Sandstones to become world class hotel, complete with rooftop salon first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.