Sydney officials call Crown and The Star hotel and casino towers projects “scandalous abuse” of planning laws
Two hotel and casino tower projects have drawn the ire of the City of Sydney, with a key city official calling both schemes a “two-fingered salute” to the city, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Australia’s two major casino operators, Crown Resorts and The Star Entertainment Group, in a bid to gain a bigger share of the city’s gaming and tourism market, have revealed plans for new towers on either side of Darling Harbour.
After years of hitting numerous roadblocks, Crown managed to clear the necessary steps to commence construction on Crown Sydney, a A$2 billion tower in Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct that, among other things, will feature a high roller casino, luxury hotel accommodation, and Australia’s first branded residences – Crown Residences at One Barangaroo. The company said earlier this month that construction was on track for 2021 completion.
The Star has revealed a A$500 million project for the addition of a glitzy 237-meter hotel tower at its existing Sydney casino, the only full scale gambling venue in the city. The plan has faced quite some backlash due to the proposed height of the new building.
Architect Philip Thalis, a member of the Independent Team of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, said that The Star’s tower will be 200 meters taller than its neighboring buildings and that it will be “acting as some megalomaniac’s sundial, progressively casting its shadows across Pyrmont and the [Sydney’s] waterfront.”
Cr Thalis called Crown and The Star’s proposed towers “twin totems of greed” that will “dominate this part of the harbour.”
Sydney’s Lord Mayor at Odds with The Stars
The city’s longest running Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, has been heavily opposed to The Star’s tower project. In a February minute, the city official said that the casino company has used a loophole in what appears to now be a repealed New South Wales planning system to “request a radically different change to an old development approval for a 10-storey tower.”
Cr Moore went on to say that the proposed building was a “scandalous abuse” of her council’s planning framework that will have a significant negative impact on the surrounding areas, including overshadowing public spaces and changing Pyrmont’s identity.
To defend its project, The Star spokesperson said that it has taken offense at suggestions that it leveraged loopholes to seek approval for the new tower. The company’s representative went on to say that it followed “the correct planning pathway” as outlined by the state Department of Planning and Environment, and that its community consultation too was “transparent and significantly more extensive” than ones conducted for other major development projects.
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