New super penthouse could be Australia's most expensive property

High life: an artist's impression of the top of the Crown Resorts tower.
High life: an artist's impression of the top of the Crown Resorts tower.

A three-storey penthouse at the top of James Packer's proposed Crown Sydney hotel and casino resort at Barangaroo could be the first Australian property to break the $100 million price barrier, a leading agent has suggested.

Such a result would mean with a single apartment sale Mr Packer's company Crown could recoup the entire $100 million licence fee it has paid the NSW government for the right to operate a VIP-only casino in the facility.

Crown has yet to even lodge a development application for the proposed 69-storey tower but last week the architecture firm which designed it, Wilkinson Eyre, revealed the latest plan for the three uppermost levels.

"Right at the top we have three floors as one apartment," company founder Chris Wilkinson told a gathering of the property development industry in Sydney.

It is understood Crown has yet to decide whether to propose to NSW planning authorities that the residence be sold to a private buyer or reserved as a luxury "villa" to accommodate Chinese and other international high rollers it hopes to attract to gamble at its VIP-only casino.

But should Crown opt to sell, Justin Brown, chairman of real estate firm CBRE, said the price might reach nine figures given it would generate interest from international buyers.

"The penthouse at One Hyde Park [in the exclusive London suburb of Knightsbridge sold for $255 million (£140 million) recently," said Mr Brown, whose company has previously sold apartments at Barangaroo for Lend Lease.

"Penthouse apartments are selling in New York and Hong Kong for $100 million. Something like that at Crown could be the first property in Australia to break $100 million because it will seriously position itself globally."

At 270 metres the proposed resort – which will incorporate hotel rooms – significantly breaches the 170-metre height limit for a hotel at Barangaroo, set when the proposal was for a building on a pier jutting out into Sydney Harbour.

Barangaroo developer Lend Lease is in discussions with the state government's Barangaroo Delivery Authority about moving the hotel on to Barangaroo South following community outcry about the original plan.

Lend Lease and Crown believe they should be rewarded with a height concession – which translates to larger profits from the proposed 80 apartments – for their willingness to relocate the building, despite having approval to build over the harbour.

This month Crown paid the NSW government a $100 million licence fee for the right to operate a VIP-only casino at Barangaroo for 99 years from November 2019. It was awarded the casino licence without tender via the government's controversial unsolicited proposals process.

As part of the agreement Crown has also guaranteed NSW will receive a guaranteed minimum $1 billion in gambling taxes and fees over the first 15 years of the casino's operation.