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AU Barangaroo rising - the three-way race to build Sydney's next big thing

Property Here - Friday, May 03, 2013

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Barangaroo proposal

Source: The Daily Telegraph

JAMES Packer's dream to create Sydney's most iconic building since the Opera House will come with a soaring price tag after three of the world's finest architects submitted dazzling designs that may cost as much as $1.5 billion to bring to life.

Challenged to come up with a design that becomes the "talk of the world", the three competing firms have presented futuristic plans for the harbourfront Barangaroo site which draw inspiration from Sydney's epic maritime setting, incorporating sea shells, yacht sails and ocean waves into their visions.

The Daily Telegraph viewed the designs yesterday after a judging panel, assembled by Mr Packer to recommend which firm should win the potential

$10 million architectural project, began assessing submissions earlier this week.

"These designs are truly inspiring; they literally take your breath away. With these sorts of designs, Crown Sydney will be the most iconic building constructed in this city since the Opera House," Mr Packer, the Crown Resorts chairman, said yesterday.

"Whoever ends up winning - it's guaranteed to be a masterpiece."

Mr Packer is engaged in a billion-dollar battle with casino rival, Echo Entertainment's The Star, to convince the O'Farrell government to grant Crown a casino licence when Star's exclusive gaming arrangements end in 2019.

He has told confidants he wants his home town resort project - which will include Sydney's first six-star hotel and exclusive gaming rooms designed to attract Asian high-rollers - to become Crown's pinnacle global achievement, with profit margins to take a backseat to sheer design impact.

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Barangaroo proposal

Barangaroo proposal

Source: The Daily Telegraph

"I want this building to be instantly recognisable around the world and feature on postcards and memorabilia promoting Sydney," he said yesterday.

"That's how you attract international tourists, create jobs and put Sydney on the map."

Initial estimates forecast the total project cost for Crown Sydney would be around $1 billion, but it is believed the bill is more likely to end up being between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion, making it one of Australia's most expensive buildings.

While the cost of Opera House in 1973 famously ballooned from $7 million to $102 million (about $860 million in today's terms), it is unlikely Mr Packer will allow his dream to lead to the financial recklessness that saw Australia's Parliament House become the world's most expensive building when it opened in 1988 at a cost of $1.1 billion, about $2.2 billion today.

The Barangaroo plan proposed by Crown will enable public access to the entire harbour foreshore for the first time since the 1970s. About half of the 22ha precinct will be public space with the northern most point to be reshaped into a park taking the form of the space before European settlement in 1788.

In a bid to shut out Mr Packer from the Sydney market, Echo has promised it would invest hundreds of millions of dollars to spruce up its casino if its exclusive status is extended.

Both casino proposals are being considered by David Murray, the former chairman of the Future Fund, who is expected to report back to Premier Barry O'Farrell by the end of the month.

Sydney Crown, standing at about 235m, would have about 350 guestrooms and suites, along with four restaurants, an ultra-lounge, day spa, rooftop pool and luxury retail facilities.

Lend Lease is also developing three commercial towers and retail spaces - at a cost of about $6 billion - on the southern end of the Barangaroo site near the King Street wharf.

Lend Lease chief executive Steve McCann said he was excited by the visionary designs, submitted by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, Kohn Pedersen Fox and Wilkinson Eyre Architects.

The design will require approval by the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

The judging panel is expected to announce a winner later this month.

Crown Resort's executive vice president of strategy and design Todd Nisbet said the site must become a vibrant destination for both locals and vistors to be truly successful.

The public can view the designs at

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