BY JAMES WILKINSON
Lend Lease’s AUD$6 billion Barangaroo development has been given the green light by the New South Wales Government despite uncertainty regarding the location of the luxury hotel, which was to be on reclaimed land over Sydney Harbour.
Barangaroo… as it was originally planned
The green light was given on the back of a review, set up in May and conducted by Meredith Sussex and Shelley Penn.
The review said there were “concerns about the level of consultation, communication and transparency surrounding the project” and it noted that “while the approval process for the hotel over the Harbour may have been legal, it undermined confidence in a variety of laws and decisions and wasn’t good public policy”.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said on the basis of the review, which also recommended that responsibility for the Barangaroo Delivery Authority be transferred to the Premier, the NSW Government now intended to push ahead with the Barangaroo project with some changes.
O’Farrell said it was important to proceed with the planning, development and construction of the three commercial towers at Barangaroo “to confirm investor confidence in the project”, while negotiations would be held with developer Lend Lease on the location of the project’s 5-star hotel.
He said while the review found that Lend Lease has a valid consent for the hotel, “it would be a significant demonstration of goodwill to relocate the hotel elsewhere on the site”.
“I have never supported the concept of building the hotel over the Harbour,” O’Farrell said.
“So, I am keen to pursue negotiations with Lend Lease to see if we can find a suitable alternative site which does not involve reclaiming land in the Harbour.”
Lend Lease’s Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Steve McCann, said his company welcomed the outcome of the review and would work with the NSW Government to find a suitable location for the hotel.
“As the Premier indicated, we are willing to discuss with Government the location of the hotel at Barangaroo taking into account design excellence, our commercial position and timing of the project.
“As the review states, we are aligned with Government in our objective to assure the world that Sydney is open for business, by transforming the former container port into a world class financial hub and new destination for Sydneysiders.
“We look forward to starting construction and continuing to work collaboratively with Government to deliver a great outcome for Sydney,” McCann said.
Once completed, an estimated 23,000 people will work in the Barangaroo precinct and up to 33,000 people will visit the site on a daily basis.