Pyrmont Star casino complex rejected

Pyrmont Star casino complex rejected

29 November 2019

Plans for a new luxury hotel and apartment tower at The Star casino complex in inner-Sydney have been rejected by the NSW Independent Planning Commission.

Star Entertainment Group Limited sought planning approval to demolish part of the The Star complex at Pyrmont and construct a new 237-metre tower and podium, comprising a 220- room, six-star Ritz-Carlton hotel and 204 residential apartments, basement car parking and a neighbourhood centre.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s whole-of-government assessment concluded the $529-million proposal should be refused because it is “inconsistent with current strategic planning for the site and locality and fails to promote the orderly use and development of land”.

It added the new tower form would be “inconsistent with its immediate context” and “result in unacceptable visual impacts due to its scale, isolation and visual dominance of the existing Pyrmont character and fails to promote good design and amenity of the built environment.”

The modification application was referred to the commission for determination due to objections from City of Sydney Council and the community. Commissioners Dianne Leeson (Panel chair), Stephen O’Connor and Adrian Pilton were appointed to consider the merits of the application and make a final decision.

Concerns raised at the public meeting and in written submissions to the commission centred around the bulk and scale of the proposed development, its incompatibility with the existing surrounding low-scale development, unacceptable visual impacts, view loss, overshadowing, lack of infrastructure to support the development, increased traffic and anti-social behaviour.

Supporters of the proposed development cited its high-quality design and positive economic impacts, including job creation and its contribution to the tourism industry, as reasons it should be approved.

The decision could be the final nail in the coffin for Star’s battle to match Crown Resorts in the NSW capital.

Crown is in the development phase of a skyscraper at Barangaroo, a 15-minute walk from Star’s existing complex, which it is set to complete in 2021.

Star’s proposal aimed to lure wealthy Chinese tourists to Sydney, though it would have also included a community centre consisting of a library and function centres.

Last October, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian flagged new planning controls for the area as part of a plan to turn it into a gateway to the central business district.

When contacted by The Urban Developer, a Star spokesperson said they “had no prior notification of the decision” and “are still digesting the full findings before we announce our next steps.”

“We want to spend more than $500 million on helping New South Wales drive tourism,” a Star spokesperson said following the committee’s decision.

“This development would create around 1000 jobs, provide opportunities for suppliers and deliver significant economic benefits.”.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore described the decision as “a win for the integrity of the planning system”.

“Approving this development would have required the most significant departure from planning controls in New South Wales history,” she said.

But the Sydney Business Chamber has slammed the committee’s decision as “out of touch”.

“It’s time to rethink the slow and inefficient planning process in New South Wales,” Sydney Business Chamber executive director Katherine O’Regan said.

The committee said it found The Star’s application inconsistent with the GSC review including the Pyrmont Peninsula Planning Framework Review, which has recommended a holistic place-based approach over a project-based approach.

On the Gold Coast, Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones announced on Thursday the state government would begin direct negotiations with The Star Entertainment Group to fast track new tourism infrastructure.

Jones said The Star had been issued terms for negotiation with the government for the delivery of its Gold Coast master plan and to “fast-track new tourism infrastructure”.