Project Focus: Packer's $1.5bn Hotel Takes The Crown


Australian billionaire tycoon James Packer wants to build the nation's tallest building, with a $1.5 billion hotel and apartment complex that connects to the Crown Casino in Melbourne with a skybridge, according to The Australian Financial Review. 

Key to the development is the controversial pedestrian footbridge linking the new tower hotel with the Crown Casino itself. The tower is to include a 388-room six-star hotel, 708 apartments and parking for almost 850 cars.

The AFR said Crown has asked the proposal be exempt from the usual planning rules on the basis that it is a project of state significance. Crown, with its joint venture partner Schiavello Group, has lodged plans for the Queensbridge Hotel Tower project.

The hotel would include one and two bedroom apartments at an average size of 184 sqm. The tower will occupy a gross floor area of 306,666 sqm.

"Crown's application has been received and the minister will take the time needed to consider the proposal," said a spokeswoman for Victoria's planning minister Richard Wynne, The AFR reported.

Mr Wynne said: "It's not about height; it's about good design, good public realm outcomes, good amenity – they are the things we always look for," Mr Wynne said to The Age. 

"Is a development offering something back? Or is it just another building?"

Sydney is all but certain to lose its grip on the tallest Australian city status, with just 29 buildings over 100 metres planned, compared with more than 100 planned in Melbourne, according to Skyscraper Centre data.

The surge of residential towers is set to double the number of very tall buildings in Melbourne's CBD within just a few years.

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