Is the Planning Department finally conceding community views … having lambasted the Star Proposal?
-yet another ‘black money laundering’ Casino … wt *!
That the 66 storey tower was not in the public interests … as a venue for gambling …
-a precedent for even more tower buildings on nearby waterfront sites …
-incompatible with the surrounding built environment …
-at 8 X the height allowed under existing rules
-with significant overshadowing of public spaces
–and obstruct views of residents in existing buildings
WITH China imposing capital controls …
Perhaps the market for wealthy Chinese gambling is drying up?
HAS the Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson overlooked
-the current 85% defective building crisis intensified by the overseas buying frenzy …
WHY should more neighbourhoods be forced to get out of the way of higher density development for ‘overseas buyers’?
Unduly prominent’: The Star’s gamble on luxury hotel tower in doubt
By Megan Gorrey and Carolyn Cummins
The Star’s half-a-billion dollar plan to build a luxury hotel and residential tower on its Pyrmont casino site appears unlikely to proceed, after the state’s planning department signalled it would not support the development.
Citing “unacceptable visual impacts due to its scale” and poor design, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said the 66-storey building was not in the public interest.
The proposed tower would be “unduly prominent”, have adverse impacts on views from residential properties and cause overshadowing in winter, the department’s report to the state’s independent planning authority said on Thursday.
“The [plan] would introduce a new tower form that is inconsistent with its immediate context and would 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.”
*In August 2018, The Star lodged ambitious plans for a luxury 220-room Ritz-Carlton hotel and 204 residential apartments, as part of a half-a-billion dollar gamble to lure wealthy Chinese tourists.
*The $530 million proposal also included a neighbourhood centre, library and function spaces.
A spokesman for The Star said the casino was “extremely disappointed” with the department’s rejection of the plan and it would “consider the avenues and other opportunities available to us”.
The spokesman said that Sydney needed hotels and to build “new and refreshed tourism infrastructure or risk losing international visitors to other states, other countries”.
“We want to spend half a billion dollars on helping NSW increase its appeal to the inbound visitor market.”
The project has been divisive. Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich and the lord mayor of the City of Sydney, Clover Moore, voiced concerns, while local residents opposed its “excessive” height.
Because there were more than 25 submissions against the project, the proposal will be determined by the Independent Planning Commission.
The report said the development would “symbolise and draw attention” to the casino as a venue for gambling and would not result in the public benefit needed to offset or justify its “negative impacts”.
*”[It would] establish a very undesirable precedent which would potentially encourage applications for further tower buildings on nearby waterfront sites,” the report said.
It said the 237-metre tall tower would be incompatible with the surrounding built environment and would appear “isolated, dominant, and visually intrusive”.
“The proposed modification is not in the public interest. It is considered that the application should not be approved,” the report said.
Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said that the department’s assessment “reflects the consistent and widespread opposition to the scale of this proposal”.
“The report is the result of an exhaustive process and provides some clear advice for the independent decision-maker to consider.”
A planning department spokesman said it had made a “thorough and rigorous assessment” of the proposal and found that “on balance the public impacts outweigh the benefits”.
*The Star’s spokesman said the planning department received 83 objections from members of the public – “well below other major projects”.
The spokesman said the proposed tower did not include any additional gaming facilities and the six-star hotel tower would deliver “a unique dining precinct for locals and tourists”.
Cr Moore said the council was “delighted” with the department’s assessment, which she said had taken the community’s concerns into account.
**“This massive tower would be eight times the height allowed under existing rules, cause significant overshadowing of public spaces and obstruct views of residents in existing buildings.”
*“This proposal was submitted outside of current planning controls, using the infamous part 3A of the Planning Act, a now discredited piece of legislation designed to override community concerns.”
*Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson expressed disappointment, saying the aim of the proposal was to “energise” the Pyrmont peninsula into a “global waterfront precinct”.
*“While the government’s report says it is avoiding setting a precedent in Pyrmont, an even bigger system wide precedent seems to be developing with government decisions preferring existing local neighbourhood character over a robust future and this can only slow down development in NSW.”
Megan Gorrey is the Urban Affairs reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald.
Carolyn Cummins is Commercial Property Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald.