Wednesday 30. March, 2016

Barangaroo Approved by NSW Govt After Crown Compromises on Plans

James Packer’s Crown Resorts has received approval from the NSW government for its Crown Sydney casino development in Barangaroo after it agreed to a number of changes. Packer agreed to a compromise in the structure of the gaming floor and improved public access to his $2 billion development, bringing to an end a two-year planning battle which will delay the opening of the casino from 2019 to 2021.

The plans still need to be approved by the Planning Assessment Commission and these are expected as soon as mid-2016.

The compromises that Crown agreed to included public access to the 65th floor observation deck overlooking Sydney Harbour, improved access to the surrounding parks and foreshore, a wider public promenade, changes to the facade of the western podium elevation and a restriction in construction hours.

Crown remained firm throughout the process that it would not compromise on its VIP gaming floor which it wanted to rival those in Macau, Las Vegas and Singapore. They argued against a requirement to split the gaming floor over a number of levels, bringing their experience of their split-level casino in Macau.

“We have had first-hand evidence at both of our properties in Macau (Altira and City of Dreams) which demonstrates that gaming floors over a number of separate split levels are challenged and result in inferior returns,” stated Crown in its submission.

The Department of Planning and Environment has stated they are satisfied with the changes that Crown has made. Mr Packer previously expressed his concerns over the delays and met with NSW Premier Mike Baird in October over the issue.

In February, Rowen Craigie, chief executive at Crown said that the company would try to catch up on their schedule as much as possible, despite the delays.

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