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Grimshaw in last three in contest to design landmark Sydney casino tower

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AJ100 International Practice of the Year, Grimshaw, has been shortlisted to design a rival to WilkinsonEyre’s casino skyscraper in Sydney harbour   

The firm is vying against local outfits Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp and BVN for the AUS$500 million (£300 million) Sydney tower, which is backed by the Star Entertainment Group (SEG).

The 200m-tall hotel, residential and casino scheme would see the redevelopment of SEG’s eponymous ‘entertainment precinct’, The Star, in Pyrmont. The plot sits across the water from WilkinsonEyre’s proposed Crown Sydney Hotel Resort skyscraper at Barangaroo South.

WilkinsonEyre has been working on its scheme for Australian billionaire James Packer since 2013, winning the project following a high-profile international competition (see AJ 16.05.13). 

However, according to local reports, SEG hopes it can beat its rival to the casino jackpot and plans to open a 220-room hotel in mid to late 2020, almost a year before the Packer-backed Crown Resorts is expected to complete its project.

SEG chief executive Matt Bekier told local press: ‘We’re delighted to have such highly-regarded, award-winning architectural firms involved in the competitive design process.

‘Pending all necessary approvals, the delivery of another world-class hotel at The Star, wholly contained within our existing footprint, will allow us to further contribute to Sydney’s tourism offering.

He added: ’Now the design excellence process is under way we look forward to ongoing community engagement and unveiling the initial designs.’

Desgins by all three of the finalists are expected to be revealed in mid-October.

Grimshaw, which has offices in Melbourne and Sydney, has worked on a number of major projects in Australia, including a contest-winning design for the Aspire Tower in Parramatta (since shelved and redesigned by Bates Smart), the new North West Rail Link in Sydney and (with Andrew Burges Architects) the £28 million Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre in Sydney’s Green Square district.

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