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Crown Resorts win Sydney hotel construction legal battle

Wed, Dec 19, 11:43am by Staff Writer

Crown Resorts and developer Lendlease have been successful in securing a court injunction against the New South Wales government to protect the views of their respective developments in Barangaroo.

As outlined in The Australian, the Barangaroo location is the site for the new casino and hotel for Crown in Sydney.

In August, Crown and Lendlease commenced proceedings against the Barangaroo Delivery Authority (BDA), the NSW government body who are responsible for the development of Barangaroo.

Harbour Bridge and Opera House Views Would be Affected by Development

The legal proceedings were initiated over concerns that an increase in developable floor area for the 5.2-hectare Barangaroo Central development would impede views from the Crown Resorts casino hotel tower designed by Wilkinson Eyre and Lendlease’s residential apartment tower designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

They contended that the construction of the Barangaroo Central development would impede views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, which would diminish the value of their respective properties.

As a result of the proceedings, the NSW Supreme Court has found that the Barangaroo Delivery Authority breached its agreements with Crown Resorts and Lendlease, which “contain provisions intended to protect those views.”

Prior to making his decision, Justice Robert McDougall stated “on the eastern shore of what is now Darling Harbour, where once Aboriginal people went about their daily lives, and later, in the Great Depression of the 1930’s, men fought for jobs, thousands of Australians now work in air-conditioned comfort. Competition for work and wages has been replaced by competition for that most characteristic of Sydney fixations: harbour views. How did this transformation occur?”

Justice McDougall emphasised in his judgement that the agreements “recognise that retention of the sight lines is of critical importance to Crown and Lendlease respectively” and that “the Authority must discuss and negotiate in good faith with Crown and Lendlease to seek to agree changes that would retain the sight lines while at the same time optimising development opportunities.”

The Barangaroo Delivery Authority awarded the tender for the construction of Barangaroo Central to a Grocon led consortium which also included parties Aqualand and Scentre Group in January 2018.

Justice McDougall States Didn’t Contemplate ‘Retention of Sight Lines’

The BDA stated in its argument that its agreements with Crown and Lendlease did not contain clauses guaranteeing the protection of the sight lines.

Justice McDougall noted in his judgement of the sight line clauses that they “were intended, objectively, to give Crown and Lendlease what might be called a seat at the table, enabling them to negotiate with the Authority about the form of development of Central Barangaroo, if it were proposed to differ from that for which the Concept Plan then provided.”

“Crown and Lendlease submitted that the discussions must start with retention of their sight lines, and that the process of optimizing development opportunities was restricted, in effect, to those opportunities that remained on the assumption that the sight lines were retained. The Authority’s position was that the two objectives were of equal importance, and that it was not necessary to start from the proposition that the sight lines should be retained.”

“The parties should at least start with the proposition that the sight lines are to be retained.

In my view, because the Authority never contemplated, as a starting point, the retention of the sight lines, it did not [discuss and negotiate in good faith].”

The new Crown Resort in Barangaroo is to mark the entry into the Sydney market for the organisation to add to its casinos and hotels in both Melbourne and Perth.

The judge will make orders relating to the case on 17 December.


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