Little Projects awards Hickory Group $105 million contract to build Melbourne’s first Hyatt Centric hotel

Melbourne’s first Hyatt Centric is a step closer with Little Projects today announcing it awarded Hickory Group the $105 million building contract.

Hickory Group expects to turn the first sod at 9-27 Downie Street shortly.

The 278-suite hotel (artist’s impression top and below), configured with a six-storey podium, and 22-level tower atop of it, is scheduled for completion in 2021.

Little Projects construction director Paris Lechte said the developer previously worked with Hickory Group to deliver ILK South Yarra and South Yarra Central.

Artist’s impression of the Hyatt Centric Melbourne hotel proposed for 9-27 Downie Street in the CBD.

Hyatt Centric Melbourne is earmarked for a 1187 square metre site which Little Projects acquired from adult industry entrepreneur Peter Iwaniuk for close to $30 million in mid-2017.

At the time of purchase, the block was permitted to make way for a 30-storey residential building containing 255 flats.

But after agreeing to buy the property, Little Projects started an off-market campaign seeking interest from a hotel occupier.

Once secured, it reworked the permit to allow for hospitality use.

Little Projects also redesigned the building, employing Architectus and Hecker Guthrie Interiors.

Hyatt vice president, Pacific, Robert Dawson said the proposed Hyatt Centric Melbourne “is designed to reflect Melbourne’s cosmopolitan vibe, vibrant street culture and rich history, and inspire guests to venture out and explore the neighbourhood”.

Shortly after confirming it would lease 9-27 Downie Street, Hyatt pre-committed to another hotel for its Centric brand, in Melbourne’s suburban South Yarra. The hotelier would occupy the entire 11-storey, 153-key venue earmarked for 2-10 River Street.

The century old warehouse on the Downie Street site, as it was marketed prior to Little Projects buying it in 2017.

Last week we reported Hyatt was opening its first Queensland inn, seven years after it last operated a venue in the state.

Other recently-reported hotel-related deals include:

Meanwhile, in Sorrento, the consortium extending and renovating the Continental Hotel have temporary shelved construction given a lack of construction funding.

Last August, we reported that Little Projects was proposing a seven-storey residential building containing 55 units on a site it co-controls opposite Grattan Gardens in Prahran.

The Plus Architecture proposal for the site opposite Prahran’s Grattan Gardens, which Little Projects co-controls.

Six months ago, founder, businessman and philanthropist, Paul Little, sold his remaining share in the property company, but said he would stay on in a consulting capacity.

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Marc Pallisco

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