Pontiac bags its first Aussie project

Pontiac will spend about A$300 million (S$299.4 million) to redevelop the Lands Building and the Education Building into a luxury hotel.
Pontiac will spend about A$300 million (S$299.4 million) to redevelop the Lands Building and the Education Building into a luxury hotel.PHOTO: PONTIAC LAND GROUP

Pontiac Land Group is set to have its first Australian project after being named the preferred buyer of leases on two heritage buildings in Sydney.

The sandstone blocks comprise the Lands Building and the Education Building, which are next to each other in Bridge Street and near Circular Quay.

Pontiac will spend about A$300 million (S$299.4 million) to redevelop the two blocks into a luxury hotel with about 240 rooms.

It will be responsible for all design and planning approvals, with construction expected to commence after the buildings are vacated by the New South Wales (NSW) government departments in 2018.

The hotel is expected to open about three years after that with the operator of the hotel to be announced in due course, Pontiac said.

The Education Building was built in two stages between 1915 and 1930, while the Lands Building was built between 1876 and 1893.

They will continue to be owned by Government Property New South Wales. They are subject to the highest level of heritage protection available in NSW and will retain their heritage significance, a Pontiac spokesman told The Straits Times.

The firm has engaged specialist heritage architects and consultants to help manage the work to re-use the buildings as a hotel.

Pontiac's success in being able to secure the long-term leases follows a rigorous tender process that began last year, the company added.

The process was managed by Macquarie Capital for the NSW government and attracted a number of international developers.

Pontiac won the bid based on various factors, including its development track record, its background as luxury developers, its heritage and hotel development expertise and long-term commitment to the project, the spokesman said.

She added: "Sydney is one of the leading global destinations and a consistently high-performing hotel market with strong demand growth and limited new supply."

Mr Dominic Perrottet, NSW's Minister for Finance, Services and Property, said the move will mean hundreds of new construction and hospitality jobs, with an estimated boost of A$185 million to the NSW economy over 20 years.

Pontiac owns hotels in Singapore such as The Ritz-Carlton, The Patina and Capella. It has also developed Ardmore Residence, The Colonnade and Millenia Tower.

Rennie Whang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2015, with the headline 'Pontiac bags its first Aussie project'. Print Edition | Subscribe