NSW: Final Hurdle Cleared for the Crown Casino

Friday, July 1st, 2016
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Excavation works at James Packer’s 71-storey Sydney casino complex are expected to begin soon after the project was given the final tick of approval.

The original Crown Resorts proposal for a $2 billion high-end hotel and casino at Barangaroo were substantially modified, before being signed off by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission on Tuesday.

The changes, already endorsed by the NSW government, include a widening of Hickson Park near the eastern side of the complex.

The “Crown” logo will be allowed to be displayed at the top of the tower’s podium, but a ban has been placed on building a helipad at the site.

The resort will be set back 30m from the harbour to allow greater pedestrian access, with up to three per cent of the precinct dedicated to affordable housing.

Loss of views and lack of pedestrian access to the Barangaroo foreshore were some of the key concerns raised by the community, architects and local councils during the commission’s assessment process.

The design quality of Crown Sydney and its potential “iconic” status were also deliberated, the PAC said.

The commission concluded that with the design changes made, the “proposed scale and form of Crown Sydney will be a sculptural and elegant signature building on the foreshore”.

Mr Packer’s Crown Resorts won the rights to build and operate the complex after a bidding war with the owners of Sydney’s existing The Star casino in 2012, with the previous O’Farrell government passing legislation a year later to allow for a “restricted” gaming facility.

The final planning process hurdle on Tuesday came after Crown this month announced plans to split its overseas and Australian operations, in an effort to realise the value of its casinos in Melbourne and Perth, and its Barangaroo development in Sydney.

The Melbourne-based company is 53 per cent owned by the Australian billionaire.

The Barangaroo complex is expected to open in early 2021.

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