News State NSW News Sydney’s Crown Casino approved
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Sydney’s Crown Casino approved

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An image of Crown Resorts' Barangaroo casino complex. Photo: Supplied. Photo: Supplied.
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James Packer’s Crown casino and hotel is to be built at Barangaroo in Sydney after the project was approved by the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission.

The NSW Government can now give it the green light for construction.

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It will be built with some modifications to the original plan, which will give more public space at the southern end of Barangaroo.

The development will also be set back 30 metres from the harbour giving extra space for people to walk along the promenade at the western foreshore at the edge of the casino.

The commission said those changes meant “the public good has been given a more equal status with the private good”.

In giving final approval, a statement from the commission said it had: “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”.

The luxury “six-star” hotel will comprise more than 300 rooms and suites, apartments, restaurants, bars, shops, conference facilities and VIP gaming rooms.

The State Government has been negotiating with Mr Packer over the proposal for several years.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull overlooking Barangaroo in Sydney.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull overlooking Barangaroo in Sydney. Photo: AAP

It won Government support in 2013, with then-premier Barry O’Farrell declaring it would be restricted to high-rollers and “not be a full-blown casino” with poker machines.

The development plans have been changed a number of times to suit the Government’s requests.

Planning changes

Initially, the development was proposed to be built on the water but that was revised so it would only be built on land.

“Hickson Park has been reconfigured and enlarged to improve sunlight and connectivity to the foreshore,” Planning Minister Rob Stokes said.

“The foreshore boundary between Barangaroo and Sydney Harbour has also been widened to provide a 30-metre promenade in addition to licensed areas.”

In a statement, Crown Resorts said the approval came with “substantial modifications and conditions”.

“While it has been a long and detailed process, we are pleased with the overall outcome,” Crown Resorts’ chairman Robert Rankin said.

“We’re deeply committed to building a six-star hotel resort that Sydneysiders and all Australians can be proud of.

“We will now move quickly with excavation work.”

Controversial project

The Barangaroo development has been a controversial topic for Sydneysiders, with many people voicing concerns about a second casino in the city.

Protesters against local lockout laws have been vocal in their criticism of the Barangaroo development and the Star casino in Darling Harbour, which is excluded from the CBD-wide lockout zones.

The approval follows Crown Resorts’ decision to separate its “high-performing” Australian assets from its international business, namely underperforming casinos in Macau, which have dragged on domestic interests.

Earlier this month, the company said the initiative was designed to maximise shareholder value and ensure a more efficient ownership structure for Crown’s assets.

The demerger will group the new Sydney development with casinos in Melbourne, Perth and London, while a new entity takes over Crown’s interest in Macau-focused Melco Crown Entertainment.

Billionaire Mr Packer owns 53 per cent of Crown Resorts but resigned as chairman in 2015.

Crown Sydney is expected to be open by 2021.

– ABC

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