A giant stiletto on top and an increase in the number of people the building can hold – those are the plans included in a new development application for the Imperial Hotel which is due to be put before the City of Sydney in the coming weeks.

Imperial owner Shadd Danesi said the extensive renovations on the site, including a 1.5 metre excavation of the Cellar Bar, opening up of previously vacant areas and the inclusion of new spaces in the next-door terrace, mean the hotel will be able to accommodate more people than originally anticipated.

“We are looking at increasing the number by a few hundred, so we will be able to accommodate an additional 400 people,” Danesi said.

At present, the Cellar Bar and Cabaret Room are approved for a total of 306 people.

“It should not be a problem as Council has approved all previous DAs and, with the shortage of gay venues in the area, there is a need for this in the community.”

Danesi also said by increasing the approved number of people the hotel can hold, there will be less need for queuing on the street.

“We will be able to get people inside, and Council does not like queuing on the street.”

The crowning glory will be a three metre high stiletto shoe, sitting atop the Imperial.

“That represents that the hotel is a gay icon and symbolic of the community it represents,” he said.

Danesi said he did not anticipate any issues with the new DA, although the hotel owners have been locked in a battle with the Council since October over plans for the number of people approved for the new upstairs smoking deck.

The City of Sydney approved the deck for 11 patrons; Danesi wanted 52.

The issue remains before the Land and Environmental Court, and Danesi said the case is due for a mediation hearing in late February.

While the renovations of the Imperial were due to be completed in time for this year’s Mardi Gras celebrations, Danesi said the project is now six to eight weeks behind schedule, and is likely to open in May.

“I am excited by the product and vision we have, and all of that is going well,” he said.

“These are dramatic changes taking place; it is not just some new carpet and a coat of paint.”

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