Pontiac Land Group has transformed the former Department of Education building in Sydney into a 192-room Capella Sydney hotel. It hosted distinguished guests from the NSW government, City of Sydney and the Singapore High Commission to Australia at a special ceremony marking the completion of Capella Sydney’s construction phase.
The event opened with a First Nations Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country, followed by speeches from David Tsang, Chief Executive Officer of Pontiac Land Group, The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Councillor Clover Moore and His Excellency Anil Kumar Nayar, Singapore High Commissioner to Australia.
“We are thankful for the trust extended to Pontiac Land of these historically significant buildings. Capella Sydney demonstrates the Group’s expertise in architectural and heritage conservation, our commitment to be a custodian of Australian art and culture, and our beliefs in creating inspiring environments in partnership with the local communities. We look forward to unveiling this new landmark of luxury hospitality for the public to experience in March 2023.”David Tsang, Chief Executive Officer of Pontiac Land Group
Capella Sydney is a two-phase restoration project, comprising two heritage properties – the former Department of Education building and the Department of Lands building, collectively known as the Sandstone Precinct. Restoration of the Department of Lands building is still underway. It is expected to be completed in 2026. Upon completion, Capella Sydney will be extended into a mixed-use development with larger-scale event and meeting spaces, curated retailers and signature food & beverage establishments, catering to both luxury travellers and the precinct’s thriving business scene.
Capella Sydney will also bring heightened cultural immersion to the city’s historical Sandstone Precinct and contribute to the relaunch of Australia’s high-end tourism economy post-covid.
Pontiac Land’s scale of investment on the project is comparable to the International Convention Centre in Sydney’s Darling Harbour and Allianz Stadium at Moore Park. It will become one of the largest privately funded tourism infrastructure projects in NSW and one of the biggest job-creating foreign investments in Sydney.
Pontiac Land was awarded the lease and redevelopment project in 2015. As one of Singapore’s pioneering developers, Pontiac Land has played an instrumental role in shaping Singapore’s luxury real estate landscape, particularly along the Orchard Road shopping belt and Marina Bay waterfront business district.
Throughout the project, Pontiac Land made every effort to engage Australian companies and craftspeople in this iconic restoration project. Over 95% of the project’s builders, craftspeople and consultants are local Australian companies, including Essence Project Management and Built, one of Australia’s largest construction groups who have been involved since the project’s tendering stage in 2014. Since then, Essence has grown from a small talented team of three individuals into a 50-person state-accredited service provider. Built, which has been spearheading the complex restoration works at both the Education and Lands buildings, is now recognised as one of the country’s most innovative tier one contractors and trusted heritage adaptive reuse experts.
“It took seven years of planning, conservation work and renovations, and although not easy, the stunning result makes it worthwhile. Pontiac Land has collaborated with the City in the areas of heritage restoration and interpretation, public art and most recently Sydney’s North Public Domain Plan Update so we knew these precious buildings were in good hands,” said The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Councillor Clover Moore. “We are working with Pontiac Land and the team to undertake public works to Farrer Place and to achieve a service tunnel under Loftus Street to the former Lands Department building, another landmark sandstone building. And from March, when Capella Sydney opens to its first guests, it will add to the vibrancy of our Quay Quarter with its web of laneways and variety of venues in heritage buildings. A once strictly nine-to-five part of town will be alive around the clock, and the hotel will be a wonderful addition to the rejuvenated Circular Quay precinct.”