Ace Hotel set sights on Australia with commitment in Sydney’s Surry Hills

California based hospitality group Ace Hotel is coming to Australia, leasing an 18-storey facility set to start construction in Sydney’s inner south Surry Hills.

The 264 suite inn will be developed around Tyne House at 49-53 Wentworth Avenue.

Golden Age Group acquired the 743 square metre site from Sydney businessman Michael Teplitsky last January.

Ace Hotel should open in Surry Hills within two years.

At the time the historic building was earmarked to form part for a mixed-use project containing 118 hotel rooms and 62 ‘own your own’ apartments which would have been offered to the private market.

However last June Golden Age lodged its application for a $76 million hotel-only proposal – its first guesthouse in Sydney.

With the commitment to Ace Hotel, Golden Age will kick off construction of the complex, walking distance to Central train station and Hyde Park.

Designed by Bates Smart and with interiors by Atelier Ace (Ace Hotel’s in-house creative and development team), the Sydney venue is expected to be trading by mid-2021.

In the United States, Ace Hotel trades in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York (the lobby of which is pictured, top), Palm Springs, Pittsburgh, Portland and Seattle.

It also operates a hotel in London and is soon to open its doors in Kyoto.

The brand, which offers contemporary accommodation – often in historic buildings, was established in 1999.

Tyne House, branded Key College House, will form part of the new hotel but Karim House – the mint coloured building next door – will be razed. Image: Google Street View.

Ace Hotel Surry Hills

Ace Hotel Surry Hills will incorporate the nine-level brick warehouse, Tyne House, branded nowadays as Key College House (pictured, above).

However, it will require the demolition of a three storey building next door, Karim House.

The hotel development will include a ground floor lobby bar, restaurant, café, conference facilities and gym.

A rooftop will include another bar and restaurant.

Golden Age Group and managing director Jeff Xu said Ace Hotel “is the perfect choice for the Surry Hills site” and will deliver a product “unlike anything” the city has seen.

“We’re excited to be bringing the first Ace Hotel to Australia and the brand’s fresh approach to the hotel industry is one that has been missing from the local hotel market.

“Traditional five-star hotels are finding it hard to compete with lifestyle-driven hotels which place a greater emphasis on experience, culture and art,” Mr Xu said.

“Cities abroad have been faster to adopt this new trend but Australia is still a young market, and there’s a demand for it.

“Ace Hotel is one of the best and draws inspiration from the characteristics of the city they operate in. Surry Hills is known for being a culinary hub with a stylish culture and acts as a great canvas to design a hotel from,” the Melbourne based builder, added.

Ace Hotel group partner and chief brand officer, Kelly Sawdon, said that opening in Sydney – on its fourth continent – “aligns with our Pacific roots and love of food, art, architecture, design and cultural creatives – things that are rich in abundance in our new Surry Hills neighbourhood”.

“We’re excited to partner with Golden Age, whose vision and sense of collaboration is in kinship with Ace, to build a central gathering place for locals and travellers alike,” she said.

Golden Age acquired Melbourne’s 130 Little Collins Street (centre) from the Uniting Church in June.

Jeff Xu’s Golden Age

Golden Age has made headlines several times in recent years.

In June, it paid the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria about $43 million for a 651 sqm site at 130 Little Collins Street, offered permit-ready for a 26-storey hotel with 184 suites.

Also in that month, Golden Age listed on a funds-through basis an 11-level East Melbourne office earmarked for 200-222 Victoria Parade (Mr Xu is proposing this complex in conjunction with Time & Place).

In April, the builder sold a site at 85 Spring Street which had for years prior been earmarked for a mixed use project with luxury apartments, a hotel and retail.

Jeff Xu.

Eleven months ago Mr Xu sold the former nightclub at 12-14 McKillop Street in the Melbourne CBD for $14.5 million. This deal came a few weeks after the developer offloaded five shops within the lower two levels of the Victoria One apartment complex, at 452 Elizabeth Street.

Last August Golden Age Group made a rare foray into Melbourne’s low-density residential market, paying more than $30 million for a 21 hectare holding at 520-578 Greigs Road, Rockbank. This site, 29 kilometres west of the city, has since been branded as a housing estate, Willow Springs.

The developer has 10 years of hotel experience in Australia – its highest profile hospitality project arguably the former Naval and Military Club site at 27 Little Collins Street, which it replaced with a 32-storey mixed-use project containing a Sheraton over the lower 14 levels.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of