Mon, Dec 17, 2:02pm by Staff Writer
Crown Casino’s proposed Sydney hotel has recorded an important legal victory with a victory at the Supreme Court to preserve the breathtaking views it intends to provide with the development.
The James Packer owned Crown Resorts and property developer Lendlease, who are planning a high-rise apartment development nearby, took the New South Wales government to court regarding a new development located in Central Barangaroo.
The issue held with both parties was that the Central Barangaroo development would impede the proposed views the developments by Crown and Lendlease were promoting for their respective hotel and apartments. The views of the world famous Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge from these properties a key selling point.
Friday’s verdict by the NSW Supreme Court today found the state-run Barangaroo Delivery Authority broke the agreement in place to preserve the “sight lines” to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the Crown and Lendlease properties.
In the judgement Justice Robert McDougall said “this was because the authority had considered various bids to develop Central Barangaroo without first discussing or negotiating with Crown and Lendlease ways to retain the sight lines that the Crown and Lendlease buildings would otherwise enjoy to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House”.
“The development agreements between the Authority, Crown and Lendlease include provisions designed to protect those sight lines and views” he added.
As part of the judgement, it was noted that the concept plan for the Barangaroo Central development outlined that there would be significant height restrictions in the region, which would essentially enable Crown and Lendlease to retain their views.
The change to the concept plan took place in November 2017 where the Barangaroo Delivery Authority signed an agreement for the development. This was made with a consortium led by major developer Grocon, whose bid was for the site in Central Barangaroo to build towers significantly higher than the original concept plan.
To defend the Grocon led construction plans, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority argued that its contract with Crown and Lendlease didn’t guarantee that their views would be kept with the new property construction.
As reported by ABC News, the judge did not accept this position and rather stated that the two companies should have been able to have input into how the Central Barangaroo site was developed.
Justice McDougall stated in his judgement that both Crown and Lendlease should have been given a “seat at the table” with the Central Barangaroo development.
He also agreed with the argument put forward by Crown and Lendlease that “although retention of sight lines was not guaranteed, the negotiations must nevertheless start from the position of retention”.
Crown and Lendlease had sought orders to stop the Barangaroo Delivery Authority from proceeding with Grocon’s bid until it had undertaken good-faith negotiations with them.
James Packer's Crown Sydney casino and hotel wins court battle over Barangaroo views https://t.co/EGC0ofMvTM
— MSN Australia (@MSNAustralia) December 14, 2018
It is believed that the original concept plans were for a low density low rise construction, however the Grocon bid is intended to be over four stories high, potentially impeding the views of the Crown and Lendlease developments.
A spokesman on behalf of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority said the company was “disappointed” with Friday’s decision. He said “the authority has at all times sought to protect the public interest,” in a statement provided.
State Opposition Leader Michael Daley said of the decision “what we’ve got now is the public interest being defeated by a private commercial interest simply because the government made a mistake.”
Orders will be issued by Justice McDougall once Monday upon resumption of the case. The orders may also include a damages component.
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