The Star Reignites Pyrmont Plans with Dual Tower Proposal


The Star Entertainment Group is poised to lodge a second development application at its waterfront site in the Sydney suburb of Pyrmont, this time for a two-tower, six-star hotel.

The $1 billion concept envisages two new towers—a 110-metre tower at the northern end of its Pyrmont site and another at 180 metres tall on the southern side—with hotels set to feature in both.

The potential resubmission follows a rejected attempt to redevelop the Pyrmont site with a $530 million, 66-storey, 237-metre tower, in an area zoned for a maximum height of 28 metres.

If approved, the FJMT-designed hotel and residential tower would have up to 250 hotel rooms as well as a signature restaurant.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian directed the Independent Planning Commission to review Pyrmont’s planning rules to be “consistent with the government’s vision for its future”.

However, the department rejected that plan on the recommendation of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in November, claiming the project was not in the public interest and clashed with the suburb’s existing character.

The commission highlighted that the project didn’t meet the “standards of good design” and was excessive in height, bulk and scale—potentially damaging views along the harbour foreshore.

▲ Concept images of the previously rejected Ritz-Carlton tower at The Star Sydney. Image: FJMT
▲ Concept images of the previously rejected Ritz-Carlton tower at The Star Sydney. Image: FJMT

At 110 metres, the revised hotel-only development would be less than half the height of the original Ritz-Carlton Hotel proposal, matching the height of the four 106-metre chimney stacks which rose from the former Pyrmont Power Station on the site.

The 110-metre height criterion would also have to be met in order to ensure a hotel of six-star standard.

As part of a new submission to the NSW Department of Planning’s draft Pyrmont Peninsula Place Strategy, The Star outlined the positive economic impacts, including job creation and tourism benefits, as reasons for the new proposals consideration.

“We have listened, adapted our thinking, and revised our previous proposal,” The Star noted in an executive summary.

“We believe this to be a compelling step forward for Pyrmont and NSW, built on the back of an inclusive and transparent NSW government process.”

The coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns and border closures continue to weigh on the state’s economy, particularly the tourism and hospitality sector, which has seen severely reduced occupancy rates hit cash flows and earnings, in turn pulling down hotel valuations.

“This [development] feeds into the NSW government’s desire to create a pipeline of infrastructure and development projects that can deliver the stimulus to rebuild the economy post-Covid,” The Star said.

“Two hotels, in two towers, [will] generate jobs and turbo-charge the tourism industry.”

Prior to the pandemic, The Star annually welcomed upwards of 11 million visitors to its Sydney hotel.

The group, hit hard by the pandemic after it was forced to shut down its gaming floors and other facilities in March, reported a loss of $95 million for the 12 months to June 30, a reversal of more than 130 per cent on the prior period, while normalised profit fell 46 per cent to $121 million.

While The Star has deferred some capital projects as a result of the pandemic, the lockdowns in March meant its big construction projects on the Gold Coast and at its new Brisbane casino could now be accelerated.

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