This is the question circulating design circles following the announcement that Chinese developer Dalian Wanda has snapped up one of Sydney’s premier waterfront addresses and plans to create luxury apartments and a 5-star hotel on the site.
The Chinese company purchased Gold Fields at 1 Alfred Street, Circular Quay for $425 million from Blackstone and a group of pension funds who had previously planned to bulldoze the1960s-era building and rebuild two apartment buildings.
Those apartments were designed by Kerry Hill Architects who won the brief in an international design competition from Johnson Pilton Walker and BVN Architects, along with Benedetta Tagiabue of EMBT in Barcelona and London firm MAKE back in 2009.
However since adding Gold Fields to their property portfolio, Dalian Wanda have signalled that they would not be delivering the Kerry Hill Architects design but developing their own building for the site which could turn into Sydney’s most expensive apartments.
“Wanda Group has recognised the iconic location, and intends to create a mixed-use development, including a 5-star hotel, luxury residential and retail. We look forward to creating a new Sydney landmark,” Wanda Group told the Australian.
Above: an artist impression shows one large tower and a smaller adjacent building. Below: Gold Fields House, 1 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, as it is today. Photo: Sasha Woolley.
Michael Pallier of Sotheby’s International Realty believes that the location itself is enough to break the all-time record for rate per sqm, but he said they’ve got to be designed and executed properly.
He told the AFR that investors would be expecting a big name architect “like Robert A. M. Stern” with a portfolio of projects around the world they can refer to for examples of work, before they buy in.
With the demolition of the existing buildings slated for 2017, design proposals for the redevelopment of the 3602sqm Gold Fields site are expected to appear soon.