The Star's $529m Pyrmont casino tower rejected as 'overly obtrusive' to skyline
Sunday 24th November 2019
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The owners of The Star casino have lost their bid to build a $529 million tower on Sydney's waterfront after a planning commission ruled it would be "overly obtrusive" to the city skyline.
The NSW Independent Planning Commission rejected the proposed six-star hotel and apartment tower, which would have been more than three times the height of the existing complex in Pyrmont.
Building it would have involved partially demolishing the structure for a new Ritz-Carlton hotel and more than 200 residential units.
The Star Entertainment Group attempted to sell its plan as a "global waterfront precinct".
However, the commissioners said its excessive height. bulk and scale was unjustified and would damage views along the harbour foreshore.
In its report, the commission said the development did not represent good design and would have created an unacceptable visual impact, "including a tower height which is overly obtrusive".
It said the tower would "dominate views and vistas to and from public places, and will therefore reduce the visual amenity of the area".
The matter was referred to the commission in July after the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said permission to build the 237-metre tower should be refused.
The commission agreed with the department's assessment that the proposed tower was inconsistent with nearby low- to medium-density buildings, adding it would overshadow private properties.
It also found it would have a significant impact on the visual quality of public spaces including Sydney Harbour and surrounding foreshore areas, specifically Union Square, Glebe foreshore parks, Cockle Bay and Pyrmont Park.
City of Sydney Council members were also against the development, with independent councillor Philip Thalis saying suggestions the tower "fitted in" with the area was laughable.
"It's basically a rocket that's just landed in Pyrmont," he said.
Supporters of the plan argued it would boost local employment and contribute to tourism in Sydney.
But the commission found the proposal was not in the public interest, because the benefits did not outweigh the impact on the harbour city.