In Australia, casino giant Crown Resorts Limited has reportedly been given permission to build a 90-story skyscraper next door to its Crown Melbourne complex that will house 388 six-star hotel rooms along with some 708 apartments.
According to a report from The Age newspaper, the $1.33 billion Queensbridge Hotel Tower in downtown Melbourne will be the tallest building in Victoria at a little over 1,056 feet and is set to rival Gold Coast’s Queensland Number One development for the title of the nation’s loftiest skyscraper.
Melbourne-based Crown Resorts Limited reportedly explained that construction at the 19.7-acre city-center site on the banks of the Yarra River could begin as early as next year with completion expected by the end of 2023. Although the coming structure is to offer no gaming, the Sydney-listed operator declared that it will be connected to the existing Crown Melbourne complex via a footbridge over Queensbridge Street.
In giving his final consent following a year of talks with members of the Melbourne City Council, Richard Wynne, Planning Minister for Victoria, told The Age that the Queensbridge Hotel Tower project would realize around $1.61 billion in economic benefits for the southern state. He moreover reportedly stated that Crown Resorts Limited and developer Schiavello will be required to hand over approximately $76.57 million towards a community package that will see the neighboring Queensbridge Square area undergo a $19.14 million makeover while $11.48 million is to be earmarked for the redevelopment of the derelict Sandridge rail bridge across the Yarra River.
Daniel Andrews, Premier for Victoria, is also reportedly a supporter of building the skyscraper and proclaimed that the project was of “state significance” because it would create 4,000 jobs encompassing around 3,000 temporary construction positions alongside 1,000 full-time roles within the finished complex.
“It’s not just about height though, the quality of this design outcome, particularly the public realm benefits that will be accessible for all Victorians, really mark this out as a very, very special project,” Andrews told The Age. “This process has been careful [and] it has been considered.”
However, Melbourne City Council member Rohan Leppert from the Australian Greens political party told the newspaper that the coming scheme “makes a mockery” of rules for skyscrapers introduced by Wynne last year “particularly due to the complete lack of setback to Queensbridge Street and the sheer bulk of the building”.
“Two solid years of research, policy work and public consultation on the new planning controls clearly count for very little when Crown [Resorts Limited] comes knocking on the state government’s door,” Leppert told The Age.
Leppert moreover reportedly questioned why the local government had not held a public consultation into the coming structure while Michael Buxton, a professor of environment and planning in the School Of Global, Urban And Social Studies at the Royal Melbourne Institute Of Technology University, told the newspaper that Crown Resorts Limited appeared to have created its own rules for the site.
“There is supposedly a rule in place for projects like this, but there are no rules and the more powerful you are, the fewer the rules,” Buxton told The Age. “What a joke.”
For its part, Crown Resorts Limited reportedly proclaimed that its Crown Melbourne currently had hotel occupancy rates of around 90% and that the finished Queensbridge Hotel Tower would have no problem filling its rooms due to Victoria’s long list of major events.