Echo Entertainment, which runs The Star casino in Sydney and casinos in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, has unveiled plans for a large-scale redevelopment of Brisbane’s Treasury Casino site as part of its $1.4 billion-plus proposal for creating an integrated entertainment precinct in the CBD.
The project, which includes a six-star hotel, a glamorous 600-seat function room and exclusive restaurants, was created in the framework of the Government’s proposal to transform William Street into an integrated gaming, resort and entertainment development.
The new hotel, featuring 90 luxury rooms, will occupy the current casino building. That will serve as a boost to the entire precinct, particularly at night, when the building will light the whole area.
Echo CEO John Redmond said the hotel redevelopment would drop the Treasury name for one that would reflect the six star nature of the new hotel complex.
Australian gambling magnate James Packer has also presented a proposal that includes a large integrated resort similar to the Crown in Melbourne, but it will be at least another six to eight months before the Government decides to give its approval. No new casino and resort construction is expected to start before January 2017, with possible completion by 2020.
Two weeks ago, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney announced the opening of the expressions of interest process for the nine-hectare redevelopment of the Queens Wharf precinct in Brisbane's CBD, including the area bounded by Alice Street, George Street, Queen Street and the river.
Seeney expects a significant amount of international interest in redeveloping the area and said developers will have to prove their plans will be world class. Any redevelopment plans must also protect and enhance the precinct's heritage buildings, though the new buildings’ maximum heights have not been determined yet.
"The first challenge from any proponent is to indicate how they can establish an integrated resort development that can be competitive in the international market, that can provide the iconic destination type opportunities for Queensland tourism and once they are able to meet that hurdle, then we will consider the issue of making gaming licences available for those types of facilities," he said.
While a short list of proponents is expected to be announced by June next year, Seeney said demolition and construction works would begin after the government's new executive building at 1 William Street is completed. At the moment, the project is running four months ahead of schedule and Seeney said it could be finished by the first quarter of 2015.