The fate of the Barangaroo Central mixed-used precinct has not yet been determined as the NSW Supreme Court holds back on orders, with a likelihood the NSW government will appeal its loss against Crown and Lendlease over blocked harbour views.
Last Friday, Crown and Lendlease notched up a win against the Barangaroo Development Authority for progressing with plans to build a much taller Central – the last piece of development in the Barangaroo area – despite agreeing to engage with both Crown and Lendlease over the preservation of “sight lines”.
Ending what was more than two years of negotiations and a short trial at the NSW Supreme Court that began in August, the court said the government had breached its agreement with Crown and Lendlease, which are building a casino resort and three more apartment towers respectively.
Having handed down his decision on Friday, Justice Robert McDougall set down a time on Monday to discuss orders but apart from an administrative discussion, nothing else was set out. Justice McDougall expected the government would appeal in the case.
The BDA, which is examining its options, said it was disappointed with the decision, having held “public interest” in mind when it negotiated with the Grocon consortium to “optimise” the Central precinct with higher towers.
Justice McDougall made clear that a higher tower would “maximise” rather than “optimise” the project.
“If the consideration were expressed as ‘maximising the development opportunities’, there could be something to be said for the proposition that highly intensive development that would maximise the financial return to be garnered for the citizens of this state was the paramount consideration,” he said.
“But where what is required is optimisation … financial returns are but one of many considerations.”