UPDATE: A former hat factory at 13 Randle Street in Sydney’s ragtraders suburb of Surry Hills is ablaze with up to 20 fire trucks in attendance.
Superintendent Adam Dewberry reported, “The fire took hold quickly in a seven-storey building on Randle Street in Surry Hills shortly after four this afternoon”.
“The fire has destroyed the building with parts of the walls falling on to nearby cars adjacent to central railway … crews had to put out spot fires on nearby home unit balconies.”
The superintendent said the fire had started on Level 3, but it was not clear how.
Landowner Hanave Pty Ltd’s Rob Burke had approved plans to demolish buildings on 7-9 and 15 Randle Street, retaining the hat factory at 11-13 Randle Street to build a 9-storey hotel with 123 rooms and two restaurants at a cost of $40 million.
The solicitor’s plans were approved two years ago, but The Urban Developer understands no work had been undertaken on site.
The heritage-listed seven-storey building that is currently ablaze was the former factory of ladies hat manufacturers RC Henderson.
The proposed development was to include two new infill buildings at 7‐9 Randle Street and 15 Randle Street with floor levels to match the seven-storey heritage factory as well as a two storey rooftop addition. The new adjoining buildings would retain the factory’s masonry facade.
The Tonkin Zulaikha Greer-designed hotel had been cleverly dubbed The Hat Hotel.
According to approved plans with the City of Sydney Council, the main timber staircase, timber lift and lift shaft and ground floor timber flooring were to be preserved and exposed.
City of Sydney mayor Clover Moore took to instagram to say she was also “watching the aggressive fire take hold of a building in Surry Hills”.
“The building appears to have been completely engulfed with flames,” she said.
Large parts of the building have collapsed and bricks are reportedly strewn across Chalmers Street.
Wednesday, November 27, 2019: Sydney-based developer Hanave has lodged a development application in central Sydney for a 114-room hotel to be built around a heritage-listed factory.
The building, located at 13 Randle Street in Sydney's hip suburb of Surry Hills, is currently occupied by the heritage-listed former factory of ladies hat manufacturers RC Henderson.
The proposed development will include two new infill buildings at 7‐9 Randle Street and 15 Randle Street with floor levels to match the seven-storey heritage factory as well as a two storey rooftop addition. The new adjoining buildings will retain the factory's masonry facade.
According to documents lodged with City of Sydney, the project has an estimated cost of $40 million.
It follows developer Hanave running a design competition in March which saw four local architecture firms submit concepts for the adaptive reuse of the existing building and its neighbouring blocks—to create a single building—at an estimated cost of $50 million or less.
The Tonkin Zulaikha Greer-designed hotel, cleverly dubbed The Hat Hotel, will see all existing masonry walls, timber posts and beams, timber floor structures, and ceiling retained and restored.
The hotel will also feature a new through-site link connecting Randle Lane to Randle Street providing a link between “city activity and commerce” with the new Randle Street Hotel at its centre.
While cities such as Perth, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne have already witnessed a significant rejuvenation of their hotel stock, the Sydney hotel sector is currently at the start of its most dramatic expansionary phase since the 2000 Olympics.
Across the last year, Sydney has seen a growth in the average daily rate of a hotel room to a point where it provided the highest revenue per room margin in the country at $231.
This result continued a strong half-decade for the NSW capital, that has seen the revenue per available room figures jump by around 6 per cent a year.
Surry Hills, fast becoming a precinct emerging boutique hotels, including a Wyndham Suites Hotel, the Veriu Central Hotel, a Travelodge Hotel, a Vibe Hotel and the transformed Paramount House Hotel, has seen an uptick in development applications and activity over 2019.
The stylish and culinary-focused inner-city suburb recently attracted US lifestyle hotel brand Ace Hotel, which opted for Surry Hills for its first venture in Sydney.
Just last month, Ace Hotel secured a deal with Jeff Xu's Golden Age Group for its $350 million, 264-room, hotel at 49-53 Wentworth Avenue—close to Chinatown and Central—due for launch in 2021.
Across the tracks in the neighbouring suburb of Chippendale plans have been recently approved for a 119-room $100 million boutique hotel.