Wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese property and construction giant Kajima Corporation, ICON Developments, have partnered with Sydney-based boutique developer, Icon Oceania, and are preparing to lodge development plans for a 229-key hotel in the heart of Sydney CBD.
This 23-storey, $265 million project aims to tap into the city’s tightly held hotel market as well as the emerging boutique accommodation sector.
Designed by SJB, the hotel will include a rooftop bar, spacious heritage suites, an Australian-first “Vertigo Suite” — featuring a transparent glass floor — and an infinity pool that offers expansive city and Darling Habour views.
To be located at 499 Kent Street, the plans for the building currently draw on the site’s rich film industry history, as the site is home to the heritage-listed ‘RCA House’ — which was purpose-built in 1936 as the Sydney distribution headquarters and film exchange for what is now Universal Studios.
ICON Developments CEO Matthew Bourke stated that the project unlocks an exciting opportunity to introduce a new lifestyle hotel brand into the Sydney marketplace.
“We are delighted to partner with Icon Oceania in delivering a new hotel to Sydney and unlocking a premium offering at this outstanding location. Our vision is for this property to become a hotel of choice for corporate, leisure and event guests in the strong-performing Sydney market,” said Bourke.
With its rich historical narrative and considered size, the plans respond to the wave of lifestyle properties currently transforming Sydney’s hotel market.
This includes the award-winning Vibe Darling Harbour, which was developed by Icon Oceania in 2019.
A recent study by CBRE found boutique properties had outperformed ‘big box’ international hotels since 2020 across all three key performance indicators — occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room.
Icon Oceania Managing Director Nico Tjen stated that the hotel signifies the next generation of experiential bespoke hotel offerings delivered on a grander magnitude.
“In Sydney, there’s been an impressive reception to hotels that celebrate the local culture and surroundings to deliver one-of-a-kind experiences. At 229 keys, we are hitting a sweet spot that allows us to take the true essence of a lifestyle hotel and deliver it at scale.
“We live in a social media world where people chase experiences and create #instagram memories — our hotel is not just a place to stay but a place that creates memories to last a lifetime,” said Tjen.
SJB director Adam Haddow stated that SJB is incredibly excited to be partnering with Icon Oceania and ICON Kajima to deliver a unique lifestyle offering.
“The architecture and interior design of the hotel celebrates the city’s history and future – connecting it to its rich indigenous and colonial past while creating a space for people to celebrate their lives. The building will make a unique contribution to the fabric of the city, there will be joy and delight and a boutique luxury offering that the Sydney hotel scene really lacks,” said Haddow.
The project milestone for ICON Developments is currently predicted to be 12 months and the company now possesses a diversified portfolio of property investments by sector and geography valued at over $1.5 billion.
499 Kent Street will be ICON Developments’ first hotel project in the Australian market.
Plans for the project are pending approval and construction is projected to commence in 2023, with the hotel set to open in 2026.