Billionaire James Packer’s Crown Resorts wants to add a new six-star luxury hotel tower to its casino and other hotels at Melbourne’s Southbank.
The 90-story Queensbridge Hotel Tower, which is yet to win planning approval, will reportedly cost $1.5 billion and provide thousands of local jobs.
The casino operator announced its intention to build a new Melbourne hotel in December 2014, saying its three existing venues at Southbank were consistently 90 per cent full.
At that time, Crown intended to build a five-star property.
The company says it doesn’t intend to conduct gaming operations in the new venue, which will feature 388 rooms, 680 apartments and an event space, plus a restaurant, lounge and garden terrace atop of the 313m glass edifice.
The building will be taller than the 297m Eureka Tower in Southbank, but shorter than the 319m Australia 108 residential skyscraper currently under construction in the area.
The design includes an active streetscape and public forecourt area with retail outlets and restaurants.
Crown and its joint-venture partner, Schiavello Group, also propose upgrading nearby Queensbridge Square.
British architectural firm Wilkinson Eyre won a global design competition for the project.
“Wilkinson Eyre have designed a beautiful and elegant building that is destined to be an important addition to the Melbourne skyline,” Mr Packer said in a statement.
“A new Crown hotel means more rooms for interstate and international tourists and that means more jobs for Victorians.”
Once completed, Crown will have more than 2,000 guest rooms and suites in its Melbourne casino precinct.
Chief executive Rowen Craigie said the project will add 3,000 jobs during construction, and 1,000 permanent positions after completion.
The proposed project is subject to planning approval, financing and the final documentation between Crown and Schiavello.
A spokeswoman for Victoria’s Planning Minister Richard Wynne said a plan for the project would be assessed on its merits.
“The minister has flagged the need for more hotel accommodation in Melbourne and has approved about 1,400 new hotel rooms this year,” the spokeswoman said.
“Crown’s concept shows the huge confidence in Melbourne’s CBD and in our tourism industry.”
Crown’s Melbourne casino resort generated non-gaming revenue of $437 million in the 2014/15 financial year.
The company is also expanding hotel accommodation at its Perth casino resort, with its $645 million Crown Towers featuring 50 luxury hotel rooms, private gaming salons and other facilities.
It also plans to build a luxury six-star hotel and VIP-only casino at Barangaroo South in Sydney’s CBD.
Crown has been upgrading its hotel and gaming facilities in Australia to stay competitive with upmarket casino resorts in Macau and Singapore in attracting high-rolling VIP gamblers, especially from China.