Plans for an ‘integrated connected resort’: ECHO Entertainment chairman John O’Neill. Photo: Janie Barrett Echo’s vision for Sydney plans. Photo: Supplied
Shanghai night field

Rival bid: James Packer. Photo: Louise Kennerley

Packer’s proposal: Crown Sydney at Barangaroo.

Sydney’s high-stakes casino battle has been too focused on dollars to the detriment of ”proper planning”, the Australian Institute of Architects says.

The debate over the rival bids to command the city’s casino market is shifting to crucial urban design issues and follows criticism that the two glitzy proposals belong in Dubai or Las Vegas.

Star casino owner Echo Entertainment wants to transform the Pyrmont site into an ”integrated connected resort” comprising two upmarket hotels, luxury villas and a rooftop water park.

The proposal is vying with James Packer’s Crown Casino bid at Barangaroo. A panel will advise the government on which plan offers the greatest economic benefit to NSW.

The Star plan includes a $130 million investment in public works – a clear pitch to regular Sydneysiders rather than VIP high rollers. It incorporates a footbridge from Darling Island to south Barangaroo, which Echo says would improve connections between the precincts and reduce commute times for inner west light rail users.

Public parks and the harbour foreshore would be ”enhanced” and include a sculpture walk and other public art.

But the NSW president of the Australian Institute of Architects, Joe Agius, said both casino proposals ”run counter to proper planning processes”.

”The government should be considering social and environmental factors in assessing these proposals, not just their economic viability,” he said.

He called for a master plan that distinguished public and private space to be developed, saying parks surrounding the Star were not a ”forecourt” to the casino.

University of NSW design expert James Weirick has said the Star’s proposed public domain works were a ”Vegas-style playground”.

However, Sydney Business Chamber executive director Patricia Forsythe described the bridge as ”a stroke of genius”.

The Crown proposal has been criticised as a Dubai-style structure that will dominate the public space.

Echo Entertainment’s head of corporate affairs, Geoff Parmenter, said the proposed public domain works were ”just artist impressions” and it would consult with the City of Sydney council, the public and other stakeholders.

Committee for Sydney chief executive Tim Williams welcomed the ”raising of the bar on urban design thinking”, adding ”it’s good the debate is focusing now on the impact on Sydney, rather than just on gambling”.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Categories : 杭州龙凤


Comment are closed