Echo Entertainment has countered Crown’s bid for a second Sydney casino license by unveiling a AUD$1.1 billion extension to The Star site that includes two new luxury hotels.
The plans were submitted to the NSW Government on Friday June 21 as an unsolicited proposal and according to Echo, The Star would become “the world’s first truly connected and integrated resort”, one that would “see a continuous entertainment, hotel and business event precinct that would link Pyrmont, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo via a series of walkways, cycleways, pedestrian bridges and architecturally designed parklands by 2019”.
James Packer’s Crown Limited is proposing a skyscraper across the water at Barangaroo that would include a luxury hotel, meeting space, restaurants, bars and VIP gaming areas.
Packer’s plan relies, however, on the New South Wales Government granting Crown Limited a second casino license.
Echo Entertainment wants to maintain the sole gaming license and its plan, according to Chairman John O’Neill, was to “propel Sydney as an unrivalled global city”.
“What we are proposing is a real game changer for the city and the State that will help deliver the Premier’s ambition to make NSW number one again,” he said.
It won’t all be about gaming, according to Echo, with “93% of The Star’s additional floorspace in the proposed development is non-gaming tourism and entertainment infrastructure”.
Echo says the new facilities would “complement the approved Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP)”.
The new facilities include: two new hotel towers – one luxury and one upper-upscale – that would take the total room count at The Star to 1,150, including five ‘world class’ rooftop suites priced at AUD$25,000 per night; an upgrade of the existing Astral Towers and Residences “specifically designed for the business and event traveller”; additional meeting and event facilities alongside the recently completed Events Centre; 20 new restaurants and bars, taking the total to 50 dining and drinking experiences at The Star; new parklands and public art installations commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art; new entertainment facilities, including 10,000-square-feet of rooftop waterfront space; and a new pedestrian and cycle bride called CityLink that would connect Pyrmont and Barangaroo.
The company is also proposing a payment of AUD$250 million to the NSW Government to extend the exclusivity of its license for a further 15 years, while Echo says the development would attract an additional 330,000 visitors to Sydney annually.
A decision on the winning bid will be recommended to the NSW Parliament in the coming months by an independent panel being chaired by David Murray.
To watch a fly-through of the proposed Echo development, click on the YouTube image at the top of the page.