ECHO WINS QUEEN'S WHARF CASINO BID
Written on the 21 July 2015
THE cards have fallen in Echo Entertainment Group's (ASX:ECG) favour, after securing a multi-billion dollar bid to redevelop Queen's Wharf.
The Queensland Government awarded the integrated casino and resort project to the Destination Brisbane Consortium led by Echo, along with partners Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Far East Consortium.
The group beat a proposal delivered by James Packer's Crown Resorts and Greenland Holdings Group.
Subject to finalising agreements with the government, the deal is expected to attract an extra 1.39 million visitors to the city each year and lift annual tourism spend by $1.69 billion.
The waterfront site in South Bank will be transformed into an entertainment precinct, complete with a string of hotels, residential towers, restaurants and public areas.
Echo CEO Matt Bekier says the project will allow Brisbane to compete on the world stage, and lure high rollers away from Macau and Singapore.
"This is an exciting announcement for us, and for Queensland, when you consider the infrastructure, job and public amenity opportunities that are part of the overall Queen's Wharf plan," Bekier says.
"We're delighted the government shares our vision to develop Queen's Wharf Brisbane into the best integrated resort in Australia, and one for which Brisbane will be globally recognised.
"It will be an asset for this state that will compete with anything around the world a development of which the people of Brisbane will be immensely proud.
"I would also like to thank everyone who assisted during the preparation of the original submission and throughout the bid process to ensure ours was the proposal of choice."
The company will utilise its existing casino license for Queen's Wharf, while still retaining ownership of the Treasury casino buildings. The property will be repurposed into a retail and accommodation offering.
Echo chairman John O'Neill says the group will eventually make the interstate move from Sydney to oversee the venture.
"This project is potentially transformational for both Brisbane and Echo Entertainment," O'Neill says.
"Our commitment to south-east Queensland is evident in the scale and quality of what we're proposing, including the relocation of our headquarters to Queensland at the appropriate time.
"This significant investment follows major redevelopment programs announced and underway on the Gold Coast and completed in Sydney."
The project is expected to create 2000 construction jobs and 8000 permanent jobs once complete.
Construction is expected to commence in 2017 through until 2022.