In Australia, award-winning architectural practice Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp has seen off fierce competition from the likes of rivals BVN and Grimshaw to have its proposed design for a new six-star hotel tower at The Star Sydney selected by a five-member panel.

Part of an ongoing redevelopment of the New South Wales casino complex by operator The Star Entertainment Group Limited, the $375 million tower is set to feature a 220-room hotel managed by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company alongside up to 150 residences.

Also the firm behind The Treasury Casino And Hotel in Brisbane and the nearby Jupiters Hotel And Casino Gold Coast, The Star Entertainment Group Limited revealed in September that the development for the inner-city Sydney suburb of Pyrmont is scheduled to open in mid to late-2020 and will additionally come complete with an updated strip of restaurants.

Perhaps wary of the criticism that greeted rival Crown Resorts Limited when it released proposals for its planned $750 million Crown Sydney development in the neighboring suburb Barangaroo, The Star Entertainment Group Limited decided to involve the local community in the initial design phase before seeking approvals or starting construction.

As part of this process, the Brisbane-based company set up a design panel tasked with reviewing options from the three architects that consisted of Greg Hawkins, Managing Director for The Star Sydney, alongside New South Wales government architect Peter Poulet. Group GSA architect Lisa-Maree Carrigan and Craig Allchin, a director for Six Degrees Architects, were also involved as was James Doolan, Asia-Pacific Hotel Development Regional Vice-President for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company parent Marriott International Incorporated.

“Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp presented an elegant [and] international standard design with a refined, distinctive and visually interesting built form considered unique to its place as part of both The Star Entertainment complex and the broader Sydney environment,” read the panel’s decision. “The design responds sympathetically to environmental considerations, for example, by maximizing solar access for the surrounding area and by incorporating a facade and materials in keeping with the waterfront location.”

The Star Entertainment Group Limited revealed that the new hotel tower will be built within the existing footprint of the casino complex at the northern end of the site with Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp moreover set to design associated development works to connect the coming tower to already-constructed buildings. It explained that the final plans are due to be submitted for assessment by the New South Wales Department Of Planning And Environment in mid-2017.

“Our development concept will take The Star Sydney’s room inventory to more than 1,000, bring The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company brand back to Sydney and add a further 20 food and beverage venues,” Matt Bekier, Managing Director for The Star Entertainment Group Limited, told The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in September.

Bekier stated that the in-progress $375 million refurbishment of The Star Sydney is seeing a complete revamp of rooms at its Astral Tower And Residences along with the opening of a Harvest Buffet restaurant and upgrades to the venue’s arrivals area and internal spaces including its VIP facilities.

“Our approach, featuring the design competition and community engagement, will enable us to develop an integrated resort on our site that truly reflects the unique character of our city and provides an attraction that all of Sydney can enjoy and be proud of,” Bekier previously told The Australian newspaper.