Plans to redevelop a former hat factory at Surry Hills are rising from the ashes after a fire all but destroyed the heritage site last year.
Developers Hanave have filed an amended development application for the site at 7-15 Randle Street with the City of Sydney, which includes the rebuilding of the former heritage building.
Much of the original building was destroyed by fire in May, 2023. Two 13-year-old boys have been charged over the blaze, which brought the Sydney CBD to a standstill with footage of the spectacular fire shown live on national TV networks.
The updated application seeks to reinstate the brick facade and detailing.
Original planning proposals for the redevelopment of the Randle Street site into a hotel were approved in 2018, and a deferred commencement approval was granted in 2020.
However, at the time of the fire, no work had been undertaken.
The plans, which were designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Architects after a design competition, would deliver a nine-storey hotel within the heritage-listed hat factory building.
According to the latest development application, Hanave had paid its Section 61 contribution and was about to obtain a construction certificate for the approved hotel when the fire broke out.
The building had to be demolished—now the developers say that “to ensure that the many years of planning by Hanave and the council are not wasted” the amended application has been prepared to return the site to its former glory.
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The application modifies the original consent to enable the rebuilding of the former heritage building, comprising a brick facade with timber windows, concrete floors and columns.
Hanave intends to keep the original plans for a 123-room hotel with two restaurants and a bar and cafe.
The development cost has been estimated at $41 million.
Before the fire, the three buildings on the site included an Edwardian period building from 1908 with an inter-war extension, forming part of the Henderson ladies’ hat factory.
According to an article by Dr Lisa Murray, public historian and History Council NSW member, the R. C. Henderson hat factory at Randle Street was built in 1912.
“It was a Federation-style factory, typical of the many warehouses that once dotted Surry Hills. The construction of Central Railway Station in 1906 and the creation of Wentworth Avenue in 1910, along with resumptions of 1850s and 1860s terraces, encouraged a wave of warehouse construction in the area.
“The six-storey building, with basement, was constructed of brick and timber, the large pairs of windows providing plenty of natural light on to the manufacturing floors. The building had ironbark structural columns and beams, lined timber ceilings and timber floors, and timber stairs connecting the different levels.”
The cosmopolitan inner-city suburb of Surry Hills has attracted major mixed-use and hospitality-focused developments, including The Adage renovations as well as Toga’s Surry Hills village development, which involves the adaptive resude of a Gothic-style church.