The Ritz-Carlton logo coming to a Pyrmont skyscraper soon. Image: Wikimedia Commons

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By Lillian Sekkai

There will be a lot of development and change in Pyrmont and West Harbour area with plans for the new Ritz-Carlton Hotel that will soar above The Star, dominating the Western Harbour side skyline and challenging Jamie Packer’s Barangaroo project for height.

The proposed six-star luxury hotel, with 220 rooms and approximately 150 private residences spreading across 60 floors, showing a height of 230 metres, will be created by multi-disciplinary design studio FJMT with completion planned for 2020.

“The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, pending all necessary approvals, will be part of The Star Sydney complex,” a spokesperson from The Star said.

The new hotel tower and the associated developments will increase the room inventory at The Star to around 1000 with more than 20 food and beverage venues across a broad range of price points added to existing offerings.

The only question is now whether it will stick to be one skyscraper, or if there are going to be many high-rise buildings as the Ritz Carlton isn’t the only new construction in this area.

Representatives from The Star Entertainment and other businesses are supporting a new Metro station for the west harbour area.

“The Star supports calls for a Metro West station in the Pyrmont-Darling Harbour precinct to optimise its potential as Sydney’s leading entertainment and tourism hub,” a spokesperson for the Star said.

The potential of the western side of the city, including Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont/Ultimo and adjacent areas has been recognised in recent years.

The Metro line had been planned by Government around 10 years ago, but was halted due to the local community response over the protection of historical buildings.

The new Metro line is proposed to run from Westmead through Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, The Bays Precinct and the Sydney CBD, with a station also planned to link to the T1 Northern Line at either Concord West or North Strathfield.

Exploring the vicinity around The Star and the proposed landmark tower hotel, Transport for NSW is still to determine a station location.

“Work is well underway, with geotechnical investigations and other technical studies currently determining the best route alignment, complementing feedback received from stakeholders, the community and local councils,” a spokesperson for Sydney Metro said.

According to the spokesperson for Sydney Metro more than 1,000 submissions were received and are being considered, including alternative station suggestions from the community.

They are currently consulting with industries to help inform the scope and delivery of the project, including engagement with the construction, operation and development sectors.

Pyrmont  has been identified as a potential intermediate station location that will be subject to further community and industry consultation.

“We need a train station in Pyrmont and most of the people I talk to agree … while there are limited spaces where you can actually put a train station– they are going to have to build everything really deep,” John Brooks, convener of the Blackwattle Cove Coalition said.

There is currently no real community organisation right now to oppose this enormous project.

Governments see stations as an opportunity to sell the right to develop high rise on the sites, offsetting the costs of station building.

While a new Metro station would improve the public transport infrastructure for the residents of this densely populated area, development of the Darling Harbour district could also create new opportunities offering employment in sectors such as tourism, hospitality, retail, education, media and technology start-ups.

But there are also some local concerns regarding this growth.

For some residents instead of looking at unobstructed views of the city and harbour, many could soon be looking at the back of a hotel.

According to John Brooks, the area is already busy due to The Star, Harbourside Shopping Mall and the Sydney Fish Markets, and there are going to be even more people and more traffic without a plan when the new hotel is open. Therefore, a smart and fast solution for public transport is definitely needed.

With Sydney Metro drilling the area for potential Metro station locations and The Star, as well as members of the community supporting the train line project, the only certainty for the area is on massive change.