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Echo Unveils Proposal for World’s First Connected, Integrated Resort at The Star

June 25, 2013 Hotel News No Comments Email Email


  • Two new international hotels with more than 500 new rooms:
    • A six star luxury hotel
    • A five star premium hotel with prestige global operator
    • This brings to 1,150 the total number of rooms at The Star
  •  62180-Proposed---Sydney's-new-feature-precinct-mdMore than 50 world-class restaurants and bars, including over 20 brand new experiences;
  • A contribution of $130 million to community infrastructure including the “City Link” pedestrian/cycle bridge and an upgraded light rail station to transform transport options for 10 million Sydneysider trips a year;
  • An increase of 330,000 international and interstate visitors per year, or a 1.2 per cent increase to current overall NSW international and interstate visitor arrivals, increasing the total number of estimated annual visits to The Star by international and interstate guests to over 2,000,000 by 2025;
  • An estimated incremental tax contribution of around $1 billion to the Government across the proposed extended exclusivity period;
  • Employment of over 5,750 Sydneysiders – including more than 1,460 new permanent jobs for Sydney;
  • Forecast incremental contribution to the NSW Gross State Product of $350 million per annum;
  • Payments for extended licence exclusivity totalling  $250 million to the NSWGovernment (which could give the NSW Government the option of underwriting a six star hotel at Barangaroo with these funds); and,
  • A total investment spend of more than $1.1 billion, 93% in non-gaming, tourism related infrastructure.


Echo Entertainment Group Chairman John O’Neill and CEO John Redmond said today that Echo’s expansion plans for The Star would see the world’s first “Connected Integrated Resort” built in Sydney.

Mr O’Neill and Mr Redmond today unveiled details of Echo’s Detailed Proposal which was formally submitted to the NSW Government through its unsolicited proposal process on Friday afternoon.

“The proposal we are unveiling today is visionary, transformational and we believe would create the world’s best Integrated Resort right here in downtown Sydney,” Mr O’Neill said.

“This is a pivotal moment. What we are proposing is a real game-changer for the city and the State that will help deliver the Premier’s ambition to make NSW number 1 again.

“If approved, our plans will complete Sydney’s new feature precinct, integrating Barangaroo, Darling Harbour and Pyrmont and contribute greatly towards the ambitious goals set by the NSW Government which aim to double overnight visitor expenditure toNSW by 2020.


“Our proposal complements the NSW Government’s vision for a revitalised Pyrmont and Darling Harbour precinct and will simplify transport options for millions of Sydneysider trips each year.

“Importantly, the people of Sydney and NSW will also benefit if our proposal is approved,” Mr O’Neill said.

Mr Redmond said that Echo’s plans would further improve upon the benefits The Star already provides to NSW.

“Since 1995, The Star is estimated to have already contributed around $4 billion in taxes, licence fees and other charges to the NSW Government, and GST to the Commonwealth Government,” Mr Redmond said.

“As part of our plans today, we are giving the NSW Government the option of exclusivity payments totalling $250 million and a further tax contribution of $1 billion for the duration of the extended exclusivity.

“We are already one of the largest single site employers in Sydney and once our expansion plans are completed, The Star will be providing jobs for more than 5,750 people.

“We are home to The Darling, which is the only new five star hotel built in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics. We will further add to this by building two brand new hotels which will mean The Star will be home to a total of 1,150 hotel rooms for tourists.

“The Star is already one of the leading tourist destinations in Sydney and NSW but our plans are expected to attract an additional 330,000 international and interstate visitors per year.

“I have been in this business all my life and there is not an Integrated Resort anywhere in the world with a better location than The Star, and the opportunity to build a complex of this scale and on such a site should be a huge magnet to overseas visitors wanting to visit Sydney.

“This project will make The Star a $3 billion ‘downtown’ resort – in the heart of Australia’s global city – on the shores of the world’s greatest harbour.

“We are unashamedly about Sydney. We are aiming higher for Sydney while our rival has to have a bet each way. We believe our plans will be compelling for both the NSWGovernment and the residents of Sydney,” Mr Redmond said.

Strategic Benefits of Proposal


Under Echo’s proposal, The Star will feature every element of a world class Integrated Resort and once completed it is expected to deliver an additional 330,000 international and interstate visitors per year. Key attractions will include:

  • A total of 1,150 hotel rooms – including over 500 new 5- and 6- star rooms spread over two hotels;
  • More than 50 world class restaurants and bars – including over 20 brand new experiences; and,
  • Extensive convention and meeting spaces and a full range of resort facilities.

Echo has also committed to building the “City Link” Bridge, a new pedestrian and cycle bridge designed to relieve transport pressure for people travelling from Pyrmont to Barangaroo or further into the CBD. It will provide a missing transport connection and an enhancement to the walk-ability of the city.  As part of developing the plans Echo will undertake an international architectural design contest.

Echo will also invest in an upgrade of the light rail station to better integrate into The Star to elevate its use as a connection to the precinct.

Three public parklands in the precinct will be enhanced improving the connectivity along the waterfront.  The design of the parks will also be subject to a design competition. Central to the connectivity of the parks will be a new sculpture walk and a combination of permanent and temporary interactive art installations. These features will be developed in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art.

NSW Government

Echo’s proposal has significant benefits for the Government and state of NSW including;

  • Substantial investment in tourism infrastructure – $1.1 billion;
  • Further payments for licence exclusivity – $250 million;
  • Increased gaming and payroll tax – more than $63 million per annum by 2025;
  • New jobs – a total of 2,000 during construction, and then 1,460 per annum new full time positions;
  • Positive impetus for NSW – $350 million increase in Gross State Product;
  • Strong tourism growth – 330,000 additional tourists each year to Sydney;
  • Sydney for major events – 40% growth in international event delegates;
  • Positive implications for gaming – only one, well regulated destination gambling venue in Sydney; and,
  • Improved transport infrastructure – integrate Pyrmont/Darling Harbour and ICC Sydney Barangaroo, linking the combined precinct with the CBD.

Alternative Option 
Echo considers the optimal outcome for Sydney is the continued existing industry structure in NSW (and across all Australian capitals) of full exclusivity, allowing for one licensed casino operator. However Echo also shares the NSW Government’s enthusiasm for the development of Barangaroo, and supports the inclusion of a six star hotel as a feature to help underpin the success of such an important state project.

Echo has provided an alternative option within its proposal to the NSW Government that does allow for earlier certainty of such a development at Barangaroo, through Crown Limited’s proposed six-star hotel. This accommodation would be on the proviso that the gaming facilities proposed as part of the current Crown plan are strictly table games,VIP-only, as Crown originally proposed and in line with the globally accepted meaning and current regulatory framework applying to Echo around VIP (that is international and interstate “rebate”) gaming.

With some fragmentation of the gaming market under this scenario, Echo would not make a cash payment for extending exclusivity arrangements, but would remain committed to its proposed development investment.

John O’Neill said: “Echo is still able to commit to such an investment because the primary focus is enhancing Sydney as a destination for a greater numbers of Asian tourists, and that tourist market is forecast to grow rapidly.

“While Echo is confident that our proposed development plus licence exclusivity payment provides the most impactful solution, this alternative may be seen as a potential win-win scenario for the people of Sydney, with a combined infrastructure and tourism spend potentially in excess of $2 billion.”

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