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Paddington’s Oxford Street to host Verona’s transformative development


Paddington’s iconic arthouse cinema, Verona, is set to undergo a mixed-use redevelopment, signaling a new phase in the regeneration of Oxford Street. This development introduces an exciting amalgamation of retail, rooftop dining, and boutique commercial office space to the area. It marks Paddington’s first large-scale commercial office proposal, featuring over 3,500 square metres of cutting-edge workspace and retail designed to meet the increasing demand for premium office locales on the city’s periphery.

Located at 17 Oxford Street, the 1,138 square metre corner plot was acquired in 2021 by WT Malouf and Fenbury from Robert Bleakley, the original owner and founder of Sotheby’s Australia Fine Art, who has maintained it as the home of Palace Cinema since 1996. The redevelopment project, aptly named ‘Verona’, will transform the site into an eight-level world-class building enriched with 3,500 square metres of office and retail space alongside 1,000 metres dedicated to cultural entertainment.

This initiative is in line with the City of Sydney’s aspiration to rejuvenate its creative and cultural precinct with a commercial foundation. Verona is set to stand at the forefront of Paddington, adjoining the upcoming 25 Hours Hotel and Oxford House, thereby enhancing the gateway to this prestigious area.

Scott Carver, the architecture firm behind Verona’s design, aims to pay tribute to the site’s historical significance in cinema while reconceptualizing it as a contemporary, mixed-use cultural nucleus. “This project is an amazing opportunity to reinvent and redefine the next generation of cultural experiences on Oxford Street. It anchors the eastern end of the City of Sydney’s Oxford Street renewal and will help people rediscover one of Sydney’s most creative and culturally significant areas,” explained Doug Southwell, Project Architect and Co-Managing Director at Scott Carver.

The design intends to keep the historic industrial brick façade, while the new structure above it will exhibit a dynamic and luminous appearance, enhancing the workplace floors with ample daylight and amenities. Verona’s storied past began in 1946, initially serving as an industrial site before evolving into a celebrated cinema that introduced a slice of Hollywood glamour to Paddington.

Verona is primed to provide next-generation office space, with potential for large, multi-floor tenants due to the building’s design flexibility. Although rental rates are yet to be disclosed, they are anticipated to match the current market prices for prime commercial spaces in the vicinity. Tom Speakman, Founding Director of Mercer Property, emphasized the unique appeal of Verona due to its size and the opportunity it presents for city-style spaces in Paddington. “It’s a compelling opportunity, there’s simply no office space of this scale available in Paddington. It’s bringing city-style space to Paddington and the market is ready for it,” he stated. The development aims to attract a diverse range of tenants from the sports, entertainment, and medical sectors, benefitting from its proximity to significant local amenities.

Knight Frank’s 2023 report underscores the heightened demand for commercial spaces in CBD fringe locations, further fueled by the ongoing adoption of hybrid working models post-COVID. Verona’s introduction is timely, set against a backdrop of growing population and skilled workforce in inner city suburbs. “Vacancy rates within the city fringe are amongst the lowest in the Greater Sydney area, with an undersupply of prime stock evidenced by sub 2% vacancy in Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, and Eveleigh. Given a limited pipeline of new developments and strong, ongoing rental growth within the city fringe, the delivery of new prime office supply will be well-received by the market,” noted Nick Lau, Director and Head of Office Leasing at Knight Frank.


In addition, Verona aspires to achieve exemplary sustainability credentials, offering modern End-of-Trip facilities typical of CBD office towers, further enhancing its appeal to prospective tenants seeking environmentally conscious workplace solutions.

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