It may have lost this battle, but the war is far from over for The Star as it says it will continue to seek planning and construction approval to build a 61-storey, $530 million luxury hotel tower at its Pyrmont site in Sydney.

The luxury development was proposed to be a Ritz-Carlton branded mixed-use property and would mark the return of the global brand to Sydney after a lengthy absence.

“We’re extremely disappointed with the recommendation,” a spokesperson for The Star told HM.

“We will continue to seek approval for the project. We believe it will have significant benefit for tourism, the city and for the State of NSW.”

In a 150-page judgement referred to the NSW Independent Planning Commission late last week, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment rejected the proposal based on 144 submissions from 12 government agencies including the City of Sydney Council, 15 from special interest groups and 117 from members of the public, of which 88 were in objection to the plans, with only 27 in support.

Major concerns from the submissions received involved the height and scale of the tower, along with overshadowing on nearby parks and public spaces, view loss, density, traffic and parking impacts, operational noise, benefit to the public as well as wind and lighting impact. In response to these concerns, The Star submitted a revised plan for the development which saw modifications made to address many of these concerns, including improvements to landscape planting, vehicle access, parking changes, signage and overall design.

A rendering of what was proposed to be the Ritz-Carlton Sydney at The Star.

However, the Department of Planning determined the concept to be reliant on matter that had not been committed to by external parties, including the development of a Metro station in Pyrmont and future tall towers within the Bays Precinct.

“The Department considers that the Proponent’s suggested “global waterfront precinct” cannot be relied upon to justify a landmark tower in this location,” the determination reads.

“The Proponent’s justification for a tower also fails to adequately respond to the local character of Pyrmont. Pyrmont is characterised by an established low to medium scale character whilst supporting reasonably high levels of density. Furthermore, Pyrmont is not specifically identified in any strategic planning policy to accommodate future growth in the form of very tall buildings or significantly increased density.”

“The Department acknowledges and accepts the concerns raised in public and Council submissions that the proposed height is unacceptable, that the tower is inconsistent with surrounding buildings in height and form and would not contribute positively to the skyline,” it adds.

The Star said 5,000 people visited its display centre during the public exhibition period late last year, on top of two community consultation programs it held prior.

“The Star will always continue to support tourism. For now, we will take some time to try and grasp the Department’s position, review the report, and consider the avenues and other opportunities available to us,” The Star’s spokesperson concluded.