James Packer’s Crown worried over loss of new casino views from Sydney development

  • Views from the Crown Sydney casino resort of city harbor could be obstructed by the planned developments to Central Barangaroo
  • Meanwhile, it is said that the winning bidder will not be announced until late in 2017

Two years ago, the process to develop Central Barangaroo – Sydney’s 22-hectare waterfront business and social hub – began. But according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the announcement of the tender to finalize the project will not take place until later this year.

James Packer's Crown is concerned that it's tower's (far left) views will be impeded by the Barangaroo Central development.
James Packer’s Crown is concerned that it’s tower’s (far left) views will be impeded by the Barangaroo Central development.

The spanner in Barangaroo’s works is said to be concerns over the views from the yet-to-be-built Crown Sydney casino, the hub’s $2 billion next-door neighbor. Crown is led by the billionaire James Packer.

View-blocking developments

The Morning Herald understands that officials behind Crown Sydney casino, the somewhat “controversial” 275-meter-tall casino and hotel, are troubled by the planned development works to Central Barangaroo; it could mean that a portion of the view from the high-rise casino over Sydney harbor would be blocked.

These concerns have arisen following an agreement between the government of New South Wales and Lendlease, the company behind the tower’s construction, that stated, “should there be any changes to Barangaroo Central that could affect sight lines to iconic views,” a discussion should take place between the two bodies.

The construction of a Sydney metro station beneath Central Barangaroo are what has set these development talks in motion. Mike Baird announced a “new tender process” at the end of 2015 for the site to accommodate this change.

To allow for the planned metro station, the above-ground floor area of Central Barangaroo was raised to 150,000 square meters, up from 120,000.

It was only then that the Planning Assessment Commission approved the construction of the 71-floor Crown Sydney casino, which would comprise several apartments and a hotel as well as a gambling establishment, in Barangaroo South.

Talks to continue

As understood by the Morning Herald, documents published alongside news of the approval suggest that in the month before the decision was made, a meeting did occur between the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the Planning Assessment Commission.

In the meeting, it is reported, the potential for the increased floor area to obstruct views from the Crown Sydney casino was discussed.

The notes mention that, “The Barangaroo Delivery Authority confirmed the agreements in place with Lendlease and Crown require consultation with these parties, should there be any changes to Barangaroo Central that could affect sight lines to iconic views.”

Four months later, in February 2016, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority announced that the tender procedure had closed, and that evaluations of the bids were already in motion.

Withholding the winner

Although rumors began to fly in July 2016 that Grocon – the biggest privately owned development and construction company in Australia – had won the tender bid, these were later quashed by the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, who said that the final announcement as to the winning tenderer would not be made until later on in 2017.

Amid the concerns, a spokesperson for the Barangaroo Delivery Authority has commented that the organization is “currently in negotiations regarding the future development rights for Central Barangaroo. These negotiations remain constructive with all parties.”

“An announcement will be made regarding the successful development proposal once those negotiations have been concluded,” said the spokesperson, quelling rumors of winning tender bidders and putting an end to whispers about the latest development concerns.

The Crown Sydney casino and hotel, which intends to attract rich Chinese bettors with the views of Sydney Harbor a key attraction, is due to be completed in 2021.

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