Former Rawson Institute for Seamen building in The Rocks listed through Savills

Former Rawson Institute for Seamen building in The Rocks listed through Savills
Former Rawson Institute for Seamen building in The Rocks listed through Savills

The former Rawson Institute for Seamen building has hit the market in Sydney.

The four level building at 100 George Street in The Rocks was built as a mariners' church in the 1850s.

It was a missionary effort by the Bethel Union which followed two similar sites in Darling Harbour and Circular Quay.

After initial success, the Bethel Union fell on hard times at the turn of the 20th century, and in 1895 the Church was leased to the Missions to Seamen.

Around two decades later the building was extended by Sir Harry Rawson, the former NSW Governor.

In 1981 the build became home to the Craft Council of NSW for nine years.

In 2011 it changed hands again and Bar100 took over as the tenant.

The property is currently home to Appetito Ristorante, and a number of the function rooms retain grandeur from a bygone era.

The Rawson Room has seven metre high pressed metal ceilings and sandstone walls. An 18 metre long brass bar draws focus to a marble centre piece which is shaped in a submarine fairwater.

The restored Chapel has maintained the cathedral ceiling and some of the original stain-glass windows.

Savills Australia’s David Hickey, Nick Tuxworth and Tom Tuxworth have been appointed to sell the heritage-listed building, suggesting the offering was highly exclusive.

“Vacant Sydney CBD buildings are as rare as hens’ teeth in the commercial property market so the owners have decided to take full advantage of the current market conditions and divest,” Hickey said. 

The ground floor is leased long term to Appetito Restaurant for 22 years and generates a total rental income of $614,937 per annum. 

Hickey said that buyers would have the flexibility in orchestrating multiple uses for the remaining three levels, while maximising rental income. 

Former Rawson Institute for Seamen building in The Rocks listed through Savills

“We feel the property provides a blank canvas for investors, alternative property syndicators and hotel operators, to reposition and activate the former Bar 100 into a venue or working space that the public is screaming for in The Rocks,” he said.

“The building underwent $16million worth of capital upgrades in 2010 and is fully fitted out for bar, restaurant and function centre purposes, with other options possible due to the substantial building area, including retail, office or childcare facilities.” 

Nestled at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Mr Hickey said the building enjoyed a prominent position within close proximity of the city’s infrastructure boom.   

“The northern end of the CBD is undergoing major infrastructure works, including residential, hotel, office and retail development, which will service strong trade and significant pedestrian foot traffic,” he said.  

“About 2.7 million international and domestic overnight guests visited The Rocks in 2017 and this building occupies 23 metres of frontage across George Street and 26 metres across Circular Quay Way, positioning it to really capitalise on the passers-by.” 

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.

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