Grace Building (Sydney)

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The exterior of the Grace Building, from York Street
Summit of the neo-Gothic corner tower

The Grace Building is a historic building located in Sydney, New South Wales Australia on York Street. Designed by Morrow & Gordon[1] and built by Kell & Rigby[2] during the late 1920s, it was opened in 1930 by Grace Brothers, the Australian department store magnates, as their headquarters. "The building was designed to use the first two storeys in the manner of a department store. The remaining storeys were intended to provide rental office accommodation for importers and other firms engaged in the softgoods trade".[3] Inspired by the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower in Chicago—headquarters of the Chicago Tribune[4]—the building was of the Art Deco architectural style and had state-of-the-art innovations and facilities for the time.

The Grace Building has served various purposes since its opening; it was sublet to the Australian Commonwealth government in the early 1940s and later became the Sydney headquarters of the U.S. armed forces under General Douglas MacArthur during the Pacific War. After World War II, it continued to be used for government administration purposes[1] and was compulsorily acquired by the Commonwealth in November 1945.[3]

Extensive renovation and restoration during the 1990s resulted in the return of many of the building's original features, including light fittings, lifts, stairwells, high pressed-metal ceilings, marble floors, wide hallways, and elegant decorative ironwork. The Grace Building was listed on the Register of the National Estate in 1980[5] and placed on the NSW State Heritage Register in 1999[3] The building was purchased for redevelopment in 1995 by the Low Yat Group of Malaysia.[6] Since June 1997, it has operated as a luxury hotel known as "the Grace Sydney".



  1. ^ a b Grace Building at State Library of NSW. Retrieved 9 December 2010
  2. ^ Gentleman of the building trade Obituary, Alan Kell, 1920-2008, in Sydney Morning Herald, 29 September 2008
  3. ^ a b c Entry in NSW State Heritage Register
  4. ^ Manuscripts, oral history and pictures Catalogue entry at State Library of NSW
  5. ^ Entry in Australian Heritage Database
  6. ^ Chronology of the Grace Building at Teaching Heritage, NSW Government

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Coordinates: 33°52′08″S 151°12′21″E / 33.868923°S 151.205853°E / -33.868923; 151.205853