Michael Bleby Reporter

Michael writes on emerging markets, architecture and engineering. He has served as a correspondent in Tokyo, London and Johannesburg and has written for Reuters, the Financial Times, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Upping the ante: Crown pushes ahead with Barangaroo designs

Published 03 May 2013 11:24, Updated 09 May 2013 00:45

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Upping the ante: Crown pushes ahead with Barangaroo designs

High hopes: Impression of one of three finalist’s designs submitted for Crown’s Barangaroo South development.

Casino company Crown is pushing ahead with plans to develop a hotel and casino at its planned Barangaroo South development in Sydney, publishing images of three finalist designs for the as-yet unapproved project.

One of the three designs for the 350-room hotel with exclusive VIP gaming room will be selected by month-end by a panel comprising Crown Resorts, its exclusive developer Lend Lease, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

The designs by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and Wilkinson Eyre Architects have come out of an invitation-only design competition Crown and Lend Lease held in October last year. The resort is designed to offer accommodation for Asian high-rollers and the hotel will have four restaurants, a café, an ultra-lounge, day spa, rooftop pool and luxury retail facilities.

It remains to be discovered if these designs will turn out to be castles in the air. Crown’s Sydney hotel resort project – which the company says could cost up to $1.5 billion – pits the company squarely against the incumbent Sydney gaming licensee Echo, which operates the existing Star casino across the water from Barangaroo, in Pyrmont.

Crown, which may be able to open its planned resort without having to get a separate gaming licence – Premier Barry O’Farrell has said special legislation could be passed to make this possible – has submitted the project to the NSW state government’s unsolicited proposal process.

Meanwhile, Echo chief executive John Redmond has taken the fight to billionaire James Packer’s company. He has made his own unsolicited proposal to the state government’s assessment panel to extend Echo’s exclusive licence beyond the current expiry date of 2019, in exchange for making significant investment in expanding the 4 hectare Star facility.

Panel chairman and businessman chairman David Murray has said he would like to finish the process this month.

Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill

Kohn Pedersen Fox

Wilkinson Eyre Architects

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