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Plagued Barangaroo OK to go but Shift Hotel

Developer Lend Lease says it is willing to negotiate with the NSW government about the location of the hotel in its $6 billion Barangaroo development.

This follows the release of the findings from the NSW government’s review of the project this week.

Lend Lease said it was ready to start construction of the first commercial tower before the end of the year.

NSW premier Barry O’Farrell said Lend Lease had authority to go ahead with the hotel but he hoped the developer would show goodwill and relocate the building from the elsewhere on to the site.

Lend Lease chief executive Steve McCann said, “We are willing to discuss the location of the hotel at Barangaroo, taking into account design excellence, our commercial position and timing.”

While the premier announced approval of the $6 billion project and that he would be taking personal control of it.

The report, commissioned by planning minister Brad Hazzard in response to community anger over the development, made a number of recommendations, including moving the hotel, which opponents of the Barangaroo project had objected to being located on a pier jutting into the harbour.

The south end of the 22ha site, which is being developed by Lend Lease, will be dominated by a high-rise retail and residential development, including a 170m-high hotel jutting out into the harbour. Lend Lease, is set to seek government compensation before agreeing to remove the planned hotel from its Sydney Harbour project despite the request from the premier to do so for nothing. Mr McCann, said the company would be ”considering our commercial position” in all discussions on relocating the hotel.

AN30-2-spotlight-barangaroo_3Mr O’Farrell announced other changes to the $6 billion project he said had been ”plagued by a lack of transparency”.

Premier O’Farrell stripped planning minister Brad Hazzard of responsibility for Barangaroo after a review recommended his government negotiate to move the $6 billion project’s centrepiece hotel from the water. He also replaced Mike Collins, the chairman of the board of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and installed Terry Moran, the former secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, to reorganise the way the project is planned.

The independent review found a luxury hotel jutting out on to the harbour was “not good public policy”, despite Lend Lease having full rights to build it.

“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,” the premier said.

After being on hold for months, Lend Lease is now able to hand a $60 million tender to begin work on the three commercial towers.

Business groups have welcomed the NSW government’s approval of the Barangaroo project but say the planned hotel on Sydney Harbour is critical for the development and for Sydney. Patricia Forsythe, executive director of Sydney Business Chamber, said although it was good to know the project was ‘shovel ready’, Barangaroo needed a stand-out development.

“There is no doubt that Sydney needs additional five-star hotels, there is no doubt as well that to put Barangaroo on the map, it needs to have iconic development.”

Felicia Mariani of the Australian Tourism Export Council said the hotel development was ‘critical’.

“The building of this new hotel was always seen as a bit of a bright spark in what has been a pretty abysmal development scenario for all of Australia,” she said.

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