Baillie Lodges reveal ribbed modernist addition to proposed boutique hotel in Victorian-era The Rocks in Sydney

Baillie Lodges reveal ribbed modernist addition to proposed boutique hotel in Victorian-era The Rocks in Sydney
Baillie Lodges reveal ribbed modernist addition to proposed boutique hotel in Victorian-era The Rocks in Sydney

Boutique lodge operator Baillie Lodges has submitted a development application for its proposed new ultra-expensive hotel, including a new "ribbed building" joining two Victorian-era warehouses dating back to the 1840s.

Photos included in the submissions show a Sydney seeped in Victorian-era architecture with brick terraces and horse-drawn carts.

The application by Baillie Lodges has an estimated construction cost of $6.3 million.

The new hotel has been designed by architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects, led by director Tim Greer, which has past experience in projects incorporating a heritage element.

It features a new two-storey building to be built on the site of the Westpac museum with a ribbed façade and a roof terrace, linked to 47 George Street.

Among the firm’s most well-known projects is the 'Portico' Scots Church redevelopment in Wynward, a short walk from the Rocks, which topped the disused, heritage-listed neo-gothic 1920s church with apartments while keeping the gothic façade at the base.

Baillie Lodges – run by husband-and-wife operators James and Hayley Baillie – is targeting a mid-2014 opening for what would be its first inner-city Sydney venture.

They are seeking to make alterations and additions to two existing heritage listed buildings, demolish the 1980s-built former Westpac Museum and erect a new building to create the new boutique hotel.

The heritage buildings stand on the corner of George Street and Atherton streets in the Rocks and form part of a predominantly Victorian and Edwardian streetscape at the northern end of George Street.

The two heritage buildings are Union Bond Store at 47 George Street, Merchants House at 43-45 George Street as well as the adjoining Avery Terrace site, which houses the former Westpac Museum.



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The project is being managed by Matthew Giltrap, who says a final decision on the application may not be made until November. The application requires approval of the Heritage Council.

Should this go smoothly, construction could begin in March.

The Baillies have acquired 35-year leases on the two adjacent historic buildings on George Street 

Documents show that the construction of Union Bond Store dates back to 1841, Merchants House dates back to 1848 and Avery Terrace to 1881.

The Union Bond Store and Merchant’s House form a Victorian Regency period "bookend" to the adjacent two-storey terrace houses.

Historical documents included in the application show the rich heritage of the site.

There are grainy photographs showing the two matching warehouses at 47 George Street dating back to 1858 adjoining the Union Bond Store.

An 1880s directory excerpt lists the tenants at 47 George Street as “E Bow and Co. Wholesale Druggists”

Also taken in 1880 is this photo showing the two buildings fronting George Street with horse-drawn carts out the front and a winch used to lift supplies from the carts to higher levels of the warehouse.

At the turn of the century, Union Bond Store and Merchant’s House are shown as part of the Estate of the John Martyn.

More historical pictures show the warehouse within the context of a distinctly Victorian-looking Sydney with boats and ships moored in a Circular Quay that looks nothing like today’s modern high-rise version

Plans for the Baillies' Sydney were revealed by James Baillie in April this year.

He told Property Observer he chose The Rocks because it is a “quintessentially Sydney location” and “perfectly located close to all of Sydney key iconic attractions”.

Suite tariffs (double) will range from $1,200 to $3,000 per night inclusive of gourmet breakfast, open bar and in-suite bar, evening cocktails and canapés, airport transfers and town car service.

The Great Ocean Road is next on the couple’s agenda, and they also have ambitions of opening a second larger luxury hotel in Sydney.

Baillie Lodges was founded in 2003 and currently operates three luxury lodges in wilderness locations, these being Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island, the Baillies’ first venture, Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island (pictured above) and Remarkable Lodge in Tasmania.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer


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