Hotels

Echo wins tender for new Brisbane casino

Jamie McKinnell – AAP / Hannah Edensor

Echo Entertainment has won the right to build a casino on prime riverfront land in Brisbane, beating a proposal from James Packer’s Crown Resorts.

The proposal from Echo, which operates the Treasury Casino in Brisbane, includes an iconic arc-shaped building with a ballroom, publicly accessible sky deck, 50 restaurants and bars and a moonlight cinema.

The development at the Queen’s Wharf precinct will also deliver five new premium hotels, three residential towers and a pedestrian bridge to South Bank.

“This development will change Brisbane’s CBD,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Monday.

“The construction means thousands of jobs – some 3000 jobs during construction, and 8000 ongoing jobs.”

The rival proposal from Mr Packer’s Crown Resorts would have included three hotels, a rooftop the size of The Gabba and public gardens complete with infinity pools.

But public servant hubs in Brisbane’s CBD will be bulldozed to make room for the city’s new casino.

In order to make way for the new casino development, the Neville Bonner and Executive Building will be demolished, Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham confirmed on Tuesday.

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He said the public servants housed within those buildings would be relocated to the new 1 William Street development.

But Lynham said this didn’t mean the Liberal National Party’s controversial William Street project effectively green-lit Echo’s bid by freeing up space.

“There are other rental spaces available in Brisbane,” Lynham told ABC Radio.

“One William Street didn’t have to be the decision.”

The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) on the flip side has welcomed the announcement with open arms as the preferred proponent for the Queen’s Wharf project in Brisbane.

“Queen’s Wharf will turn an already vibrant city into a truly exciting world-class destination that attracts new visitors and investment to the State,” ceo Margy Osmond said.

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“Queen’s Wharf Brisbane will be the hub that connects the defining parts of the city. When completed, the project will not only boost Brisbane’s tourism appeal, it will also deliver high quality public spaces for the local community.”

“The Queensland Government was faced with a tough choice, receiving world-class submissions from two outstanding businesses. The high quality of the proposals, and the work that went into making them, is in itself a strong vote of confidence in Queensland’s visitor’s economy.”

Echo Entertainment’s ceo Matt Bekier added that he was excited to align development with the Government’s long-term vision.

“It will be an asset for this state that will compete with anything around the world – a development of which the people of Brisbane will be immensely proud,” he said.

The construction phase, due to begin from 2017 and last until 2022, would provide greater certainty for the state, minister for state development Anthony Lynham said.

“This project will be transformational for Brisbane,” he said.

“It’ll do what South Bank did for Brisbane 30 years ago.”

The casino, which the premier says will transform Brisbane into a premium tourism destination, will be built on prime riverfront land between George Street and the Riverside Expressway.

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