Major Australian gambling operator the Star Entertainment Group decided not to challenge the NSW Planning Commission’s rejection of its proposed multi-million hotel and apartment tower in Sydney’s suburb Pyrmont.
The proposed project, which involves a 66-story tower, was dismissed by the Independent Planning Commission in November 2019. The dismissal caused a wave of criticism on behalf of major developers and media supporters of the project like radio presenter Alan Jones of 2GB’s The Alan Jones Breakfast Show.
The operator planned to include facilities like libraries, function spaces, and a neighbourhood centre in the tower, which was to soar 237 metres above the ground. However, the independent three-member panel determined the massive building was too visually obtrusive and would have an “overshadowing” effect in the wintertime if the operator went ahead with its construction plans.
The Planning Commission received over eighty objections from members of the Pyrmont community and eventually rejected the project, ruling out the building was not compatible with the overall surrounding environment. The independent panel’s sentiments largely echoed the negative assessment of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment.
This paved the way for a potential legal showdown in the NSW Land and Environment Court if the gambling giant sought to challenge its project’s rejection. The Star Entertainment Group had until the end of this month to lodge an appeal against the planning panel’s decision.
New Planning Controls Could Clear the Obstacles in the Project’s Path
A spokesperson for the gambling operator said the company has decided against challenging the Planning Commission’s rejection of the project. The gambling operator chose to wait for the NSW government to roll out a new set of planning controls that could potentially clear the obstacles the $530-million tower is currently facing.
Until then, the company remains committed to “driving tourism” and is interested in further developments. The spokesperson also added that Star Entertainment eagerly awaits the finalisation and release of the new planning control, which is expected later in 2020.
Robert Stokes, the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, is also of the opinion there is still hope for the new hotel and apartment complex in Pyrmont. He believes it possible to achieve a balance between the region’s heritage elements and the development of large-scale projects.
A massive project like the Stars Entertainment tower also seems to be in line with the ambitious plans of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Planning Minister says. Premier Berejiklian’s plans aim at revitalising Pyrmont and transforming it into Sydney’s next big entertainment centre.
The Star Entertainment Group announced plans for its tower project back in 2018. The plans were for the tower to feature a hotel section with 220 rooms along with a 204-apartment residential complex. The tower was intended as a way to attract wealthy tourists from China to the region.
The proposal has received the support of various business groups and the local tourism sector. Proponents of the project insist it would lure more tourists, serving as a solution for the luxury hotels shortage in the area.
Not everyone was keen on the idea, however. The project was met with opposition on behalf of established architects and the locals. The Sydney City Council also opposed the tower arguing it was inadequate for one such low-rise area.