On Tuesday, the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) gave its approval of Crown’s plan for a A$2b casino in Sydney’s Barangaroo district on land that had been reserved for a public park.
The PAC made its approval conditional upon Crown maintaining a slightly larger green space area than originally planned, as well as setting the casino back 30 meters to ensure the public has access to the waterfront. The PAC also insisted on Crown providing an extra 25 affordable apartments within a five-kilometer radius of the project.
The PAC stressed that it would have suggested many more public-friendly tweaks had it had the power to command them. But the PAC noted that its hands had been effectively tied once the NSW Parliament approved the casino project back in 2013.
Despite the laments over its lack of power, the PAC claimed that, once the recommended tweaks were incorporated, the finished project (the tallest silver phallic thingy in the above image) would be “a sculptural and elegant signature building on the foreshore.” Because at this point, what else can they say?
From the very start, the public perception was that the NSW government was treating Crown owner James Packer like 13-year-old girls treat Justin Bieber, willing to bend all the rules and do whatever it took to ensure that James would flash them that winning smile.
Crown is targeting Asia’s 1% with the six-star venue, which will feature gaming tables but no video poker (pokies) machines. The hotel tower will feature 30 floors of luxury suites, and if you have to ask the price to stay there, you’re not welcome.
Crown Sydney will become the city’s second casino, joining The Star, the flagship property of The Star Entertainment Group (formerly Echo Entertainment). By law, Crown Sydney can’t open its doors until The Star’s local monopoly expires in 2019.