After Echo Entertainment was chosen over competitor James Packer’s Queens Wharf Greenland Crown project to redevelop the Brisbane Queen’s Wharf precinct in July, a group of architects has expressed concerns about the city’s future and noted that Brisbane would not benefit from the $2 billion project.
In hopes of attracting overseas tourists especially from Asia and in particular China, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd., Hong Kong-based partner of Echo Entertainment plans to completely redevelop the precinct by turning it into a casino, retail complex and luxury hotel.
However, comparing the project to the Barangaroo project in Sydney, the President of the Queensland branch of the Australia Institute of Architects, Richard Kirk, along with Catherine Bull, Landscape Architecture Professor at the University of Melbourne, both prominent architects, wrote a piece attempting to dissuade the state government’s decision to approve the proposed development plan. Kirk and Bull made note of the fact that the redevelopment of the Barangaroo precinct, which was awarded to Crown Resorts, makes use of an unused part of the city, whereas Echo Entertainment’s Brisbane project would be working on a portion of the city that is already “established and intact.”
The piece which was distributed to local media, expresses the two architects failure to understand how the loss of that part of the city due to the integrated resort which would extend over six blocks near Brisbane’s central part, would benefit the public. The two experts also noted that the area represents resident’s “shared history,” one that the state government’s approval effectively hands over to Echo Entertainment to be completely altered. It’s a huge risk that is unnecessary, according to the architects who propose a similar development to the South Band one, a waterfront park that would ensure a never ending benefit to the public.
Anthony Lynham, the Queensland Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines commented on the architect’s piece that criticized Echo Entertainment’s proposal, and said that not only would the project be highly beneficial, but that it would “transform” completely an area of Brisbane that is in dire need. He promised the public that it would be kept up to date and informed of important aspects and benefits of the proposal when the proposal is completed contractually.
According to the Queensland Department of State Development, the Destination Brisbane Consortium’s multi-billion dollar Star Brisbane project will create up to 8,000 ongoing operational jobs in addition to 3,000 construction jobs and site work is anticipated to begin in 2017.