Echo Entertainment and Crown unveiled their designs for a multi-billion dollar integrated resort and casino at Brisbane’s Queens Wharf.
Both feature multiple skyscrapers, a new bridge to South Bank, huge public spaces, retail precincts and palatial gambling venues.
Crown chief executive officer Rowen Craigie and Echo Entertainment chairman John O’Neill both presented their projects although there was confusion over the government’s gag orders on what could be revealed including the number of planned apartments.
Destination Brisbane Consortium – comprised of Echo Entertainment and its Chinese property developers Chow Tai Fook and Far East Consortium – will have what is expected to be the largest elevated public space in the southern hemisphere overlooking the Brisbane River.
That space will sit just above VIP gaming facilities and two six-star and five-star hotels.
Designed by Cottee Parker Architects alongside well known American architect based in Las Vegas, Paul Steelman, there will be another four skyscrapers of at least 50 storeys with apartments and hotels.
Public function spaces as large as Federation Square in Melbourne will be developed on the current abandoned space on the banks of the river.
Echo Entertainment chairman John O’Neill AO promised the plans would deliver “the best Integrated Resort in Australia”.
Brisbane’s current casino, which will be moved out of the current Treasury building, will now sit central to Echo’s project. Echo’s current heritage-listed Treasury buildings will now be The Ritz Hotel and a retail precinct which will connect The Queen Street Mall all the way to the new casino.
Echo Entertainment chief executive Matt Bekier said the consortium had taken a “whole-of-precinct vision”.
“By relocating the existing casino, and transforming Brisbane’s heritage Treasury Casino buildings into a premium shopping experience and a new six-star Ritz-Carlton Hotel, DBC’s proposal connects and activates the whole precinct with South Bank, Queen Street Mall and the CBD,” Mr Bekier said.
Urbis national director James Tuma said connectivity with surroundings was crucial.
“The critical thing about this project is integration with the city and making sure it is relevant to Brisbane.”
Under Crown and Chinese property giant Greenland’s plan, four main towers will be constructed, with casino, water park, roof-top pools and gardens, and a new bridge to South Bank where Crown is also proposing to partner with the Queensland Government to build a new theatre accommodating 2000 people.
The plan will include a suspended waterfall and three hotels including one six-star and two five-star.
Woods Bagot, Bates Smart and RPS/Tierra have designed the masterplan.
Crown chairman James Packer, who was not in attendance at the launch, said: “With Greenland and our world-class architects, I am committed to building something truly spectacular – a landmark precinct for the people of Queensland.”
Greenland’s chairman Yuliang Zhang said: “Queen’s Wharf will be a must-see for locals and international travellers and an entertainment precinct that Queenslanders will be proud of.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said Brisbane was now fortunate to have two “extremely committed consortia” vying to put Brisbane on the world stage.
“Whichever project is ultimately chosen by the government, Queen’s Wharf Brisbane will build on the already great places in Brisbane for locals and tourists,” he said.
“This redevelopment will bring thousands of jobs to the city both in the construction phase of the project but also in tourism, retail and entertainment during the life of the new resort.”
A decision on the preferred proponent for the Queen’s Wharf precinct is expected in the first half of 2015.