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Crown Resorts instigates legal action over fears of blocked views from Barangaroo tower

Crown Resorts has announced it has commenced legal proceedings seeking an injunction against the Barangaroo Delivery Authority (BDA) in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

The dispute relates to the BDA’s plans for the 5.2-hecatre Barangaroo Central development area, located between Barangaroo Reserve and the Lendlease-developed Barangaroo South. The BDA is a NSW government body responsible for the development of Barangaroo.

Crown Resorts Barangaroo casino tower development is currently under construction at Barangaroo South and neighbours the Barangaroo Central development area.

The company reported in its 2018 Full Year Results to the ASX, “The proceedings seek injunctive relief and declarations against the BDA that, in substance, require the BDA to comply with a number of its contractual obligations under the Crown Development Agreement (CDA).

“These obligations include consulting with Crown about any application for the proposed development of Central Barangaroo that differs from that provided for in the relevant concept plan for Central Barangaroo in existence at the time the CDA was entered into, and negotiating in good faith and agreeing with Crown and Lendlease any required changes to that application to ensure that sight lines from the Harbour Bridge to the Sydney Opera House are retained for the Crown Sydney Hotel Resort.”

The masterplan for Barangaroo Central by Skidmore Owings and Merrill and Sydney firm Andersen Hunter Horne.

The masterplan for Barangaroo Central by Skidmore Owings and Merrill and Sydney firm Andersen Hunter Horne.

Image: Barangaroo Delivery Authority

Barangaroo Central was originally slated to have a maximum development area of 59,225 square metres in 2010. However, in 2015, when an underground Barangaroo Sydney Metro Station was proposed for the area, the above-ground developable floor area almost tripled to 150,000 square metres.

Crown Resorts fears the uplift in developable floor area will result in blocked views to the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge from its $2.2 billion casino and hotel tower, designed by Wilkinson Eyre.

Lendlease has also commenced legal proceedings against the BDA.

A spokesperson for the BDA said in a statement, “The Barangaroo Delivery Authority, acting on behalf of the NSW Government, has been negotiating with Crown and Lendlease about their sightlines over Central Barangaroo for 28 months. At all times the authority has acted in good faith and in accordance with its contractual obligations.

“The authority will defend its position in court.”

The masterplan for Barangaroo Central by Skidmore Owings and Merrill and Sydney firm Andersen Hunter Horne.

The masterplan for Barangaroo Central by Skidmore Owings and Merrill and Sydney firm Andersen Hunter Horne.

Image: Barangaroo Delivery Authority

The BDA launched a tender for the design, development and delivery of Barangaroo Central in 2015. As part of the tender process, bidders were encouraged to “explore below-ground opportunities that make best use of the metro station” and to submit proposals for no more than 150,000 square metres of above-ground floor area.

The tender was awarded to a consortium comprising Grocon, Aqualand and Scentre Group in January 2018. A planning application for Barangaroo Central has not yet been made.

The now near complete Barangaroo South, developed by Lendlease, has similarly increased its gross floor area since the original concept plans from 2005. In the final concept plan, known as Modification 8, the gross floor area had more than doubled from 330,000 square metres to 681,000 square metres.

Crown’s casino tower development has been widely criticized and even sparked a legal challenge against its approval from a local resident action group.

In a submission to the Department of Planning and Environment in 2015, the City of Sydney outlined a number of concerns, including the adverse impacts on a host of heritage sites with national, state or local significance such as the Sydney Observatory and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Leichhardt Council also said the tower development “failed to provide adequate assessment of the proposal’s impact on the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House.”

The casino resort was approved by the Planning and Assessment Commission in June 2016. In August 2016, a local resident group calling themselves the Millers Point Fund Incorporated launched a legal challenge against the approval, which failed.

Crown said in its 2018 Full Year Results that construction of the tower core has reached level six and the project is on track for completion in 2021.

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