Jerry Schwartz, the owner of the newly announced 5-star Sofitel hotel at Sydney’s International Convention Centre, has called on the State Government to consider a helipad for the top of the Darling Harbour hotel.
Dr Schwartz has also requested permission to incorporate permanent ‘Vivid-style’ external lighting of the hotel to help animate the Darling Harbour precinct.
The proposals were put forward yesterday at a press conference to announce that Dr Schwartz’s Schwartz Family Company (SFC) would fund the construction of the ICC Hotel, which will be branded a Sofitel and managed by Accor when it opens in Q2 2017.
The 35 storey, 594 room Sofitel will be Sydney’s largest new hotel developed for over 20 years and will help break an accommodation drought that has existed in the city since the 2000 Olympics.
The Sofitel will be an integral component of the new Darling Harbour convention and exhibition precinct that is currently under construction.
Dr Schwartz is one of Australia’s largest private hotel owners, with 1800 rooms currently operating in Sydney and a total of 13 hotels nationally, many of which are major convention hotels.
The proposed helipad on top of the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour would be close to where a previous helipad operated until the 1980s. Many comparable international convention cities have CBD helipads, including Melbourne, and Dr Schwartz believes that a city aiming to be a leading player in the international convention and exhibition market requires international infrastructure support.
”We applaud the NSW Government for their vision to re-generate the Darling Harbour precinct, and an ideal addition to the precinct would be a purpose-built helipad on top of the Sofitel to service the ICC and Sydney more widely,” said Dr Schwartz.
“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.
“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.”