After a long 18 month of delays and setbacks, James Packer finally gets the nod from the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) to start work on the $2 billion casino-complex the Crown Barangaroo. 

Soon to be Sydney’s second casino, experts have expressed serious concern about the project going ahead. This stems from complaints from the local community and councils, and as such the PAC have demanded a number of alterations to the original plans take place. This includes a significant reduction in the podium which was set to house a 271 metre tall observation deck. Among other recommendations, the PAC advised decreasing the area of the licensed ground floor of the hotel. This is in an attempt to reduce any disruption of the nearby Sydney Observatory.

After initial sticking points in discussions regarding the podium, all other concerns were quickly quashed by Packer’s Crown Resorts. The overall benefit of the building to the area was surmised by three members of the PAC’s independent panel, who said the… ‘proposed scale and form of Crown Sydney will be a sculptural and elegant signature building on the foreshore’. ‘These changes combine to provide a significant increase in the area of public domain — of some 4500 square meters compared to the original proposals’.

Packer owns more than half (53%) of Melbourne-based Crown Resorts Ltd and as such holds a controlling stake in the company. Once the NSW Government gives the go-ahead for construction, Crown Resorts can go full steam ahead and expect the casino to be open in 2021. Future facilities include a luxury ‘six star’ hotel with more than 300 rooms, alongside suites, apartments, shops, bars, VIP gaming rooms and conference facilities.

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