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Crown’s tall order

09 Jun 2016

Crown’s tall order Image

The controversial Queensbridge Tower proposal is back on the Planning Minister’s table, with an application to build what would become Australia’s tallest building.

The joint $1.5 venture between Crown Resorts and Schiavello Group is proposing a whopping 323-metre, 90-storey tower, which would eclipse both Q1 on the Gold Coast and nearby Australia 108, which is currently under construction.

While the proposal would normally be assessed under the State Government’s C262 interim planning controls, the applicants are applying for an exemption on the basis that it would qualify as a project of state significance.

It comes as the first major test of Minister for Planning Richard Wynne’s tenure, with the proposal exceeding nearly every planning control in the book, from height and setback to tower separation and plot ratio.

While possessing a whopping 57:1 plot ratio, which is well over the interim limit of 24:1, Crown has requested a waiver by promising to upgrade Queensbridge Square as a means of delivering community benefit.

Also the subject of much scrutiny is the developer’s proposed air-walk bridge, which would create a walkway over Queensbridge St connecting the tower to the existing Crown complex.

Member for Albert Park Martin Foley has previously described the idea as “a bridge too far” and said that it needed to be ruled out entirely.

The owners’ corporation (OC) at neighbouring Freshwater Place has sought a tower separation of a minimum 20 metres from the developers since news of Crown’s original plans for the site first broke some years ago.

Freshwater Place OC chair Peter Renner said that the latest proposal wasn’t even close to meeting its requests, and that redeveloping Queensbridge Square was not sufficient public benefit in exchange for what was being proposed.

“We are disapointed that the developer has sought leave to bypass the minister’s existing planning regime by suggesting that the application is of state significance,” he said.

“The appiclation ‘supersizes’ the previous application for the property and we fail to see the public benefit that is offered for the relaxation of height, separation, setbacks and plot ratio.”

“Issues raised by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning of the previous application have been completely ignored on the basis that this development is too significant.”

Mr Renner said that he would be meeting with Martin Foley and Richard Wynne soon to express residents’ concerns with the application.

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