Monday, 13 March 2017

1966: Goldfields House is open for business

The photo was taken by the Author.

In 1966, Goldfields House in Alfred Street accepted its first tenants when it was completed. For its 50th birthday last year, it was given the worst present one could receive - death.

Currently, it is in the process of being demolished, but I did find an article from The Sydney Morning Herald in 1966 which provides an insight into the building. The report mentions the tower is 27 stories tall, but the skyscraper centre lists the tower as being 25 stories tall but the height of 110 metres is correct. 

Source: Anon. 1966. "Tenants moving into balancing block on Quay". The Sydney Morning Herald, December 6: 25. 

People have mentioned the similarities between Goldfields House and the AMP Building located down the street. They were designed by the same firm - Peddle Thorp Walker. The AMP has a curved facade whereas Goldfields House does not. 

Here is another feature on Goldfields House that was published in The Daily Telegraph on November 7, 1966.

Source: Anon. 1966. "Final touches to Gold Fields House. The Daily Telegraph, November 6: 20. 

The building's fate was sealed in late 2014 when Chinese Property Tycoon Dalian Wanda bought the building for $425 million. Wanda also owns adjoining properties including the Rugby Club and Fairfax House in Pitt Street. The three sites have been combined, all buildings demolished and two towers will rise. A 30 story (110 metre) hotel tower will rise on the Pitt Street side, while the remainder of the site will have a 59 story (197 metre) apartment tower containing ultra luxury apartments.

Source: Anon. 2016. Untitled. Image. 

What has made the redevelopment of the Goldfields site possible has been the huge demand for apartments in central Sydney along with a relaxation of planning guidelines. The location is also a major factor with the building located right opposite Circular Quay with never to be built out views of Sydney Harbour. 

While the office space in Goldfields House was rated as A-grade, businesses prefer newer buildings that can accommodate and reflect current workplace environments, which is difficult in older buildings like Goldfields. While its possible to gut the tower and modify it, returns from converting a building into a residential building can result in higher returns for investors and developers. 

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