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Star Casino’s new tower hits a hurdle

Mon, Jul 29, 12:51pm by Staff Writer

Star Casino says it will push on with plans to build a $530 million tower in Sydney, despite it having been rejected by planning authorities.

The ABC is reporting that in a decision that has pitted anti-development groups against those in favour of tourism. The Star’s concept has been labeled “completely inappropriate” by one City of Sydney councillor and was rejected by the New South Wales Planning Department as inconsistent with the existing and future character of Pyrmont.

It is understood The Star is privately fuming over the decision, which puts its luxury 220-room Ritz-Carlton hotel and 204 residential apartments on hold, possibly for good.

The 66-storey building is on the other side of the Sydney Harbour from Crown’s half-complete Barangaroo skyscraper, and was pitched as part of Star’s plan to attract wealthy Chinese tourists.

Analysts suggest the development was also a critical part of Star’s future plans to lure tourists away from Crown’s controversial luxury casino and hotel, due to be complete in 2021.

It is understood Star still hopes the development will get over the line – despite the independent New South Wales Planning Panel, which has the final decision, usually taking Department advice.

In a statement, a Star spokesperson said it would “continue to seek approval”.

“We believe it will have a significant benefit for tourism, the city and for the state of New South Wales,” the spokesperson said.

In its report released on Thursday night, the department said the proposal would have adverse impacts on views from residential properties and cause overshadowing in winter.

“The plan would introduce a new tower form that is inconsistent with its immediate context and would result in unacceptable visual impacts due to its scale, isolation and visual dominance of the existing Pyrmont character,” the report said.

“[It] fails to promote good design and amenity of the built environment.”

Planning decision cause a divide

The decision has split parts of Sydney.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes backed his department’s recommendation, while the Treasurer, Dominic Perrotet said he did not understand why there was not better coordination between the department and the developer.

“You would think common sense would prevail and you’d get a development that works and at the same time delivers a world class hotel that backs in tourism opportunities for our city and state,” Mr Perrotet said.

The chief executive of the Tourism and Transport Forum Margy Osmond said the decision sent a “most unfortunate” message.

“At a time when we need more and more A-grade accommodation and some other styles that we’re not making these and we’re getting a reputation for being an incredibly difficult place to develop anything,” she said.

Sydney council not happy with Crown’s apartment increase

Sydney City Council has labeled plans by Crown Casino to increase the number of apartments at its Barangaroo site on Sydney’s foreshore as “outrageous”.

The ABC reports that Crown Casino submitted an application to increase the number of luxury apartments in the tower, known as 1 Barangaroo, from 66 to 87, with decreased visitor spaces to allow for more valet parking.

The application said the increase is due to “market feedback”.

The apartments are in Crown’s Barangaroo skyscraper, which is due to be completed in 2021 and will also include a luxury casino and hotel.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the Council had no authority over Barangaroo developments, and any approved increase would be another erosion in public trust for the site.

“The people of Australia should be outraged that the precious public land along the foreshore of the global city has been sacrificed so private interests can profit from selling apartments to millionaires,” she said.

“Both NSW Government and Opposition supported the proposal to build this tower, cannibalizing planned parkland and continuous harbour foreshore.

“This remains an outrageous betrayal of the community’s trust, an abuse of power that places private ahead of the public interest.”

The Barangaroo Delivery Authority said the application by Crown for 21 additional apartments and other modifications including the internal layout of the casino’s hotel is with the NSW Department of Planning for assessment.

It said the proposals were available online and available for public submissions.

Phillip Thalis is a City of Sydney councillor and an architect who worked on the original Barangaroo design.

He said the initial plans for the site had half the area as parkland.

“The whole thing is a catastrophe from beginning to end,” he said.

“Sydney is the real loser here.”

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