Hotels

‘Likes’ for Crown’s six-star proposal

Trevor Chappell - AAP / Anne Majumdar

Crown Resorts wants to add a new six-star luxury hotel tower to its casino and other hotels at Melbourne’s Southbank and the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) thinks it’s a great idea.

The 90-storey Queensbridge Hotel Tower, which is yet to win planning approval, will reportedly cost $1.5 billion and provide thousands of local jobs. The plan was prompted by consistent 90% occupancies at the casino operator’s three existing Southbank venues, it said when it first announced the venture in December 2014.

The James Packer-owned company says it doesn’t intend to conduct gaming operations in the new venue, which will feature 388 rooms, 680 apartments and an event space, plus a restaurant, lounge and garden terrace atop of the 313m glass edifice.

MCB welcomed the proposal highlighting the benefits for business events and the Victorian economy.

“We operate in an extremely competitive environment for this lucrative business and the addition of new hotel stock so close to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) is a real advantage for Melbourne when it comes to attracting large international conventions and incentive groups to the city,” chief executive Karen Bolinger said.

“With the expansion of MCEC due to get underway within months, and this proposal for new hotel rooms linked via an air bridge to the Crown complex, it will make Melbourne’s convention precinct an even more appealing asset.”

Bolinger underlined the importance of creating additional capacity close to MCEC, with supply frequently failing to meet demand and thereby limiting MCB’s ability to win new business.

“We need to look to the future to maintain our international reputation as a must-visit destination for business travellers and discerning tourists seeking an experience that they cannot get elsewhere in Australia.”

The proposed building will be taller than the 297m Eureka Tower in Southbank, but shorter than the 319m Australia 108 residential skyscraper currently under construction in the area. The design includes an active streetscape and public forecourt area with retail outlets and restaurants. Crown and its joint-venture partner, Schiavello Group, also propose upgrading nearby Queensbridge Square.

The proposed project is subject to planning approval, financing and the final documentation between Crown and Schiavello.

A spokeswoman for Victoria’s Planning Minister Richard Wynne said a plan for the project would be assessed on its merits.

“The minister has flagged the need for more hotel accommodation in Melbourne and has approved about 1,400 new hotel rooms this year,” the spokeswoman said.

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