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Special report: Crown and Echo battle for Brisbane

By James Wilkinson

Crown Resorts and Echo Entertainment have both released their plans for converting Brisbane’s Queens Wharf site into a world-class entertainment precinct featuring new luxury hotels, casinos, shopping centres and world class restaurants.

James Packer’s Crown, in partnership with Greenland Group, and Echo, in partnership with Far East Consortium and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, are vying for a new lucrative casino licence on offer from the Queensland Government and in late December they both put their cards on the table with two spectacular projects.

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An artists impression of the Echo plan for Brisbane’s Queens Wharf

Crown’s proposal sees the addition of two new five-star hotels and “Brisbane’s first luxury six-star hotel”, according to the company, which also says “these three new hotels will set the bar for luxury accommodation in Queensland”.

Also included is a new Bridge to South Bank, a 2000-seat theatre, a 1200-room function centre with a transparent glass canopy, new public spaces, family water park, cinemas, restaurants from star chefs Neil Perry and Guillaume Brahimi, an 800-seat ballroom and function centre, rooftop garden with an infinity pool and day spa, a gaming floor and much more.

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An artists impression of the Crown Resorts plan for Brisbane’s Queens Wharf

“With Greenland and our world-class architects, I am committed to building something truly spectacular – a landmark precinct for the people of Queensland,” Packer said.

Greenland’s Chairman, Yuliang Zhang, is equally as excited for what the development will do for the city.

“Queen’s Wharf will be a must-see for locals and international travellers and an entertainment precinct that Queenslanders will be proud of,” he said.

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Echo’s plan includes five new hotels

Echo’s plan involves the construction of five new hotels to be operated under the Ritz-Carlton, Rosewood, Dorsett and The Darling (same as The Star in Sydney) brands alongside the addition of a “six-star VIP hotel”.

There would also be a public sky deck like Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, a theatre complex in South Bank, the world’s largest nightly water and light show, several art galleries, bars, restaurants, pubs, a micro-brewery, shops, a gaming floor, 1500-seat ballroom, riverfront moonlight cinema and 12 football fields of public event space.

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The proposed rooftop pool in Crown’s proposal

In announcing the design concepts for the final two proponents, the Queensland Government’s Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning said releasing the concepts “provides an opportunity to showcase how both projects meet the project’s vision and objectives which were developed by the community – respecting the precinct’s heritage and how a range of attractions will add to the vibrancy of Brisbane”.

The Queensland Government is set to announce the preferred proponent in early 2015, with construction expected to commence in 2017.

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