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Crown, Lendlease & New South Wales government settle battle

Mon, Sep 2, 3:00pm by Staff Writer

Crown Resorts is finally ending its three-year squabble with the New South Wales government.

Casino Aus reports that the latter has dropped its case after the parties reach an out-of-court settlement.

Even so, the New South Wales courts are in the process of deciding if Crown is fit to end hold its gambling licence, the result of which will determine if the Barangaroo project is truly in the clear or not.

Crown and Lendlease, the latter of which manages construction projects, were in court due to a case from the New South Wales government.

The case centred on the views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Basically, Crown and Lendlease paid for an exclusive view, but a government agency tried to negotiate with other companies to give that view way.

The view was a hotly-contested part of the entire project.

The Barangaroo Delivery Authority, an arm of the New South Wales government, approved the Crown Lendlease properties with a particular view of the Harbour.

It was expensive, but the companies wanted the rights to a certain view that would be exclusive to their properties.

Crown and Lendlease soon found out that the BDA took bids from other companies for a taller Barangaroo property.

Companies involved in Barangaroo Central included Grocon, Scentre, and Aqualand, and the deal would increase their floor space and partially obstruct the views from Crown and Lendlease towers.

By December 2018, the case was a thte New South Wales Supreme Court, w hich ruled for Crown and Lendlease.

The BDA was found to have violated its existing development agreements with the two by not bringing Crown and Lendlease in one the final negotiations of Barangaroo Central.

Per the agreement between Crown and Lendlease and the New South Wales government, the two companies have a right to maintain their “sight lines” in view from the properties.

Thus, the BDA had a legal duty to consult all stakeholders, as the newer properties would obstruct the views of eventual inhabitants of the Crown and Lendlease properties.

Two months later, the BDA filed its appeal.

THe court was set to rule on the appeal this month.

However, the parties had been meeting behind closed doors to try to reach a settlement.

And they did, which led to the New South Wales government dropping its appeal against Crown and Lendlease on August 19.

That was the day of the scheduled appeal hearing.

The details of the settlement remain a mystery, but Crown noted that it will retain its views.

A statement from the New South Wales government, which read, in part: “This resolution between the parties clears the path for the government to work with all parties to complete the final buildings in Barangaroo South and deliver Central Barangaroo, the final stage of the Barangaroo development.”

To further calm the waters, the state’s premier directed the Greater Sydney Commission tor Review the Pyrmont planning rules to assist The Star’s casino project in moving forward.

All parties indicated satisfaction with the settlement and the end of years-long lease.

Problems not over yet for Crown

Crown Resorts now finds itself at the centre of an investigation led by a former judge, as revealed by the New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority.

The public inquiry will examine allegations of wrongdoing at casinos run by Crown Resorts.

This part of the inquiry stems from an investigation from multiple media outlets that revealed Crown as participating in some form of money laundering and trafficking via Chinese VIP connections.

Further, Crown’s majority shareholder James Packer is being investigated by the judge for selling nearly 20 per cent of Crown Holdings to Hong Kong investor Lawrence Ho, the son of gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, long suspected of having ties to criminal organisations.

Judge Patricia Bergin will ultimately decide if Crown is fit to hold a gambling licence in the state of New South Wales.

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