The Sandstones — two blocks of 1880s buildings on Bridge Street now home to the New South Wales Government's Land and Education offices — are set to become a posh hotel. On 10 November, Pontiac Land Group, a private company based in Singapore, lodged a development application for their transformation. The company has agreed to pay Government Property NSW $35 million for a 103-year lease. Meanwhile, the Government's offices will be shifting to Parramatta.
Pontiac will be spending a whopping $300 million on the renovation. The plan is to create 253 rooms and suites — 61 in the current Lands building and 192 in the Education building. Loads will have excellent Sydney Harbour views.
In addition, the Lands building's ground level will be turned into retail and dining spaces, which will be open to the public. You'll also be able to catch a lift to a rooftop salon, even if you're not staying in the hotel. And the centre of the Education building will score a brasserie, large lounge area and courtyard filled with greenery.
Pontiac is working with Make Architects (the folks who re-did Wynyard Station and surrounds), alongside landscape architects Aspect Studio and interior designer BAR Studio.
Lead architect Ian Lomas said, "we have explored the buildings' shared social and physical heritage, respectfully and deferentially weaving in our new layer, while embracing the spirit of invention, exploration and discovery that is part of Sydney and these buildings' DNA."
Greg Incoll, development director at Sandstones, said, "these magnificent buildings have held a commanding presence in Sydney for more than a century but the vast majority of people have only experienced them from the outside. Pontiac Land Group is not only preserving the heritage of two buildings rich in social and economic significance, but making a valuable contribution to Sydney's tourism economy."