Coogee Bay Hotel Owner Shares Vision for Revamped $111-Million Development

Coogee Bay Hotel

In a bid to address the concerns of the local community, Coogee Bay Hotel owner Christopher Cheung has revealed revised plans for a $111-million redevelopment that aims to strike a balance between preserving the area’s character and offering modern amenities. 

The project, which has been met with mixed reactions, is set to include apartments, a hotel wing, and a public laneway running from from Coogee Bay Road to Arden Street creating a through link.

The revised development application (DA/437/2021) comes after an ongoing mediation process with Randwick City Council since 2021.

The Land and Environment Court has granted permission for the submission of the new plans, which feature 58 apartments, a three-story hotel wing, and the “eat street” concept.  

Coogee Bay Hotel
Artist’s impression of 2023 proposal. Photo Credit: Randwick City Council 

External planning consultants are currently conducting a detailed assessment of the revised documentation and amended plans.

According to Randwick City Council, the key amendments to the proposal include:

Building heights reduced from a maximum of 23.33m to 21.35m

Reduction in floor space ratio from 1.79:1 to 1.59:1

Amendments to the building mass to retain view lines to key landforms including Wedding Cake Island, Dolphin Point and the northern headland of Coogee Beach

Reduction in basement excavation by two levels.

Increased building setback to the southern boundary and accommodation of deep soil planting and additional communal open space.

Removal of the ground level supermarket tenancy and provision of residential apartments to the street frontage of Vicar Street.

Increased retention to four heritage building facades along Coogee Bay Road.

Internal reconfiguration of pub building, hotel and all residential apartments.

Inclusion of a three-storey building to the southern side of the beer garden. Provision of the car park entry from Arden Street only and removing the car park entrance from Vicar Street.

Changes to the colour and materials used on the retail tenancies fronting Coogee Bay Road to respond to the character of this streetscape.

Randwick City Council
Coogee Bay Hotel proposal
Artist’s impression of 2023 proposal. Photo Credit: Randwick City Council 

The initial development application that was lodged in 2021 was met with strong opposition from the community, triggering a petition with over 8,000 signatures expressing concerns over blocked ocean views.

The 2021 plans covered the demolition of significant parts of the current hotel and the construction of a six-storey apartment building.

Mr Cheung, the managing director of C!NC (the privately-owned hospitality group behind Coogee Bay Hotel and Circular Quay’s Cruise Bar), has said that efforts are being taken to understand the local issues and integrate them into the development.

He explained the motivation behind the changes, stating that the development would “enhance the heritage elements of the hotel building, upgrade its accommodation offering, create a wider range of entertainment, dining options and public meeting spaces, new street links, and create a more family-friendly environment.” 

He stressed that the goal was to make the Coogee Bay Hotel a more welcoming place that enhances social outcomes and contributes positively to the local economy.

However, not everyone is convinced by the new plans.

Lucy Bloom, former president of Business Coogee and an author, raised concerns over the potential negative impact of the proposed “eat street.” She argued that it could compete with existing cafes and stores, particularly during the colder months when these businesses already experience a downturn. 

Additionally, Ms Bloom expressed apprehension about the demolition of three buildings, which would result in the loss of 40 low-cost residential units, a concern echoed by some local residents.

The height of the proposed development has also been a contentious issue. Rona Wade, a community member, pointed out that the new plans exceeded the existing height limit of 12 metres, standing at 21.25 metres. This height discrepancy, according to Ms Wade, would overshadow the foreshore and detract from Coogee’s value as a seaside village.

Coogee Bay Hotel
Photo Credit: Randwick City Council 

The development remains under assessment following a public exhibition that ended in May 2023.

“A detailed assessment of the amended documentation is currently being undertaken by Randwick Council’s external planning consultants. Feedback from the community will be carefully considered as part of the Court proceedings,” Randwick City Council said.

Published 14-Aug-2023