The artist formerly known as the MLC Centre will soon be going by a different name, but that’s not the only big change Sydneysiders can expect at the newly rebranded 25 Martin Place. More than $170 million has been invested to transform the plaza that once connected the distinctive Harry Seidler skyscraper to Martin Place into a huge dining, retail and entertainment precinct.
The food court on the building’s lowest floors, popular with the city’s whitecollar workforce, will remain largely untouched, but just a couple of storeys above it, diners in search of more substantial fare will be spoilt for choice with 30 new eateries to sample. Among them will be the latest venue from the team behind Middle Eastern fine diner Nour and up-market charcoal chook joint Henrietta. Aalia will offer a menu heroing chargrilled seafood. New Zealand hospitality heavyweights Good Group will also be opening its first two Australian venues, including a branch of its steakhouse, Botswana Butchery, which will cover a whopping three floors and feature a rooftop bar overlooking Martin Place.
Some of the new venues – which includes an Asian fusion restaurant, a Mexican-themed cocktail lounge and an Italian wine bar – are set to open as early as this October, and new eateries and bars will come online in the months that follow.
An architect's render of the new Theatre Royal exterior | Photograph: Supplied/Dexus
But the ambitious development won’t just be a draw for Sydney’s hungry foodies. Following a top-to-bottom refurbishment, the Theatre Royal – a 1,100-seat playhouse that has been closed since 2016 – will once again be welcoming Sydney’s theatre-philes, with the Down Under debut of the Alanis Morrissette musical Jagged Little Pill to be its first production in five years. While the current Siedler-designed theatre was constructed in 1976, a theatre has existed on the site since 1833, making the Theatre Royal the oldest theatrical institution in the city. As well as significantly upgrading the auditorium, the renovations have included a new glazed entrance hall that allows better visibility into the venue from King Street.
Fashionistas (with sufficiently deep pockets) will also be flocking to the new 25 Martin Place development, which will also house a shopping mall dedicated to black label designers. Most notably, luxury Italian brand Valentino will house its Australian flagship store on the site, which will span two levels on the corner of Castlereigh Street. It’s set to open its doors in time for Christmas.
The 25 Martin Place development is yet another major addition to the CBD's expanding hospitality offering, which is currently undergoing a major boom. The sprawling Barangaroo precinct, including the Crown Tower, the YCK Laneways bars and entertainment precinct and the Quay Quarter development, which is in the final stages of construction, are together creating arguably the strongest hospitality infrastructure of any Australian CBD. The planned pedestrianisation of George Street between Bathurst Street and Rawson Place will add an outdoor dining hub to the mix by mid-2022.