James Packer’s Crown Barangaroo has faced a number of setbacks that has resulted in an 18 month delay. While Crown Resorts has worked with the New South Wales (NSW) government to sort out most of the important issues that stood in the way of $1.2 billion Barangaroo project, the NSW Department of Planning had requested for a number of changes to be made to the original proposal.

The expert panel which was appointed by Rob Stokes, the planning minister, wanted the podium that houses the 271 metre tower to be reduced significantly so that visitors would have easier access to the harbour foreshore. The panel also wanted Crown Barangaroo to create an observation deck on the 65th floor of the 71 level tower and open it up to the public.

The panel consulted with members of the public and important stakeholders to review the project in detail and come up with final recommendations. Some of the other recommendations included reducing the size of the licensed ground floor area of the hotel in order to help the public move about more freely, carrying out a lighting survey to evaluate the impact on the nearby Sydney Observatory and also to impose a restriction on the number of operating hours on the ground and outdoor floor areas of the hotel.

Crown Barangaroo was willing to make most of the changes but initially resisted the idea of shrinking its podium size as it would reduce the number of gaming tables that was initially planned for the podium area. Crown Resorts stated that any reduction would automatically impact its VIP gaming facility thereby affecting the casino’s economic and financial future.

However after much discussion, Crown Resorts have worked out all of the concerns and have agreed to fully comply with the recommendations made. In a statement, a representative for Crown Resorts said “Crown worked with our architects to ensure the Planning Department’s conditions are addressed. Our updated designs, including significant changes to the hotel podium, will help ensure Crown Sydney is embraced by the local community and visitors as one of the world’s best hotels and architectural icons”

The NSW Department of Planning was pleased with the fact that Crown Barangaroo took all of its recommendations into consideration and made the adjustments to its proposal. As a result the department has recommended the amended proposal for approval to the Planning Assessment Commission.

The Planning Assessment Commission is the highest body of approval in the state and is expected to organize a public meeting to review the proposal in April. If the Crown Barangaroo proposal is approved, Crown Resorts will be able to commence construction of its casino without further delay. The Crown Barangaroo casino is expected to open sometime in 2021.

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