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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel at The Star Casino in Sydney moves one step closer to opening

The Ritz-Carlton name is closer to making a comeback in Sydney, with The Star Entertainment Group lodging plans for the $500 million hotel and apartment development at its Pyrmont site.

The joint venture between The Star, Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook and Far East Consortium will bring the Marriott International brand back  to the harbour city, after Sydney's two Ritz-Carlton hotels closed 18 years ago. Those properties have since been rebranded as the Sir Stamford at Circular Quay and InterContinental Double Bay.

The new 61-storey, six-star hotel, which would adjoin The Star's casino building, will have 220 rooms, about 200 apartments below that, a rooftop terrace, a public restaurant, two gyms and a spa and wellness centre.

The project will also add new amenities to the existing casino complex including a rooftop pool area with harbour views and about 15 more food outlets.

No additional gamble floor space is proposed.

The FJMT-designed development would bring added competition for James Packer's 350-room Crown Sydney hotel at nearby Barangaroo, which will also be rated six stars.

The Star's chief executive officer Matt Bekier said Sydney needed more luxury hotels to cater for the growing demand from international tourists, especially from 'the rapidly expanding wealthy Chinese middle class'.

'By moving to close the shortfall in supply, we can ensure we don't miss an opportunity that offers considerable economic benefit to this city and this state,' he said, adding that Australia currently attracted just 1 per cent China's international outbound travellers.

'This country is experiencing significant growth in inbound tourism, an upward trend which shows all the hallmarks of continuing well into the future.

'Forecasts suggest Australia's current visitation of around 8.3 million international visitors per annum will rise to 15 million a year inside a decade'.

The local Pyrmont community had been engaged on the project, with a fve-storey neighbourhood centre also part of the development. These facilities would include a social-enterprise cafe, reading room, function space, collaboration hub and rooftop terrace.

About 1000 construction jobs will be created, along with another 500 jobs once the hotel is operational.

There are also plans for Ritz-Carlton hotels in Perth's Elizabeth Quay and Melbourne's Spencer Street.

*Commercial Real Estate - Alison Cheung, August 15th 2018