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Hotel magnate’s fresh bid for Darling Harbour helipad

written by Adam Thorn | May 26, 2020

Darling Harbour
Dr Jerry Schwartz has made a new bid to place a helicopter on top of his Sofitel Sydney hotel

Hotel magnate Dr Jerry Schwartz is making a fresh attempt to build a helipad on top of the 33-storey Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour.

The cosmetic surgeon hopes to use the platform to transport guests and world leaders from the airport to his accommodation, which is also situated adjacent to the International Convention Centre.

A previous attempt to build a helipad was muted in 2014 before his Sofitel complex was complete. Back then, however, architect Richard Francis-Jones told The Sydney Morning Herald, “It’s the first I’ve heard of it. It hasn’t been designed for a heliport, it’s got a chiselled roof on it.”

However, if these new plans come to fruition, it would be the CBD’s first helipad since the 1980s, when a similar construction was removed to make way for the redevelopment of the former rail yards.

Currently, the only other public helipad services are located at Bankstown and Mascot, which, the plans add, are difficult to reach with congested roads.

Dr Schwartz said, “Given the devastation to Sydney’s tourism and business economy as a result of coronavirus, there is no better time to introduce the concept of a CBD helipad to help revive the city’s economic fortunes.

“The world’s great cities – such as London, Paris and New York – have CBD helipads, and even Melbourne offers city helicopter transfers to the River Yarra helipad.


“The city has had a helipad in the past, so we are not proposing anything that is dramatically different, but its construction can play a significant role in reviving the city’s economy in the wake of the devastating impact of coronavirus.”

Dr Schwartz said his helipad would be classified as an ‘aircraft facility’ under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation, and that he would undertake “extensive consultation” with local residents, businesses and other stakeholders as part of the process of submitting an Environmental Impact Statement.


He added that investigations were underway to assess noise impact and hoped that it could potentially be operational in 18 months.

The new bid comes after an initial attempt half-way through the last decade to build one.

“We are still very committed to having a helipad on top of the Sofitel,” Dr Schwartz told the AFR in 2016. “The government is well aware of our plans and given the regeneration of Darling Harbour and the city’s plans to be one of the great international convention and exhibition cities, it makes sense to be innovative and go one step further by adding a helipad.”

Comments (5)

  • Sydney city council will never permit it, Clover Moore is anti-development, perhaps if you called the heli pad a piece of abstract sculpture you may get a look in.

  • Dennis


    Maybe Uber Elevate is interested in using the location.

  • Lechuga


    It’s Sydney, I would’ve thought if anything that they’d take a leaf out of Melbournes book and put one on the water. Obviously different water bodies, but it just seems like something you’d sit on the harbour.

  • TD


    At least the boys will have a strong wind to land into all of the time. Have to clamp the chopper or drone onto the pad as soon as it lands. Let’s hope the pax don’t get blown away moving from helo to the building. And all of this is on a good day.

  • Jon Barry


    It is so ridiculous to NOT have helipads in Sydney, the business capital of Australia, it really amazes me that there are none and pollies are fighting against them, I say them, there should be several.

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