Mulpha sues S'pore's Stamford Land over hotel redevelopment

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MELBOURNE (June 26): Malaysian conglomerate Mulpha is suing Singapore's Stamford Land Corporation in a Sydney court tomorrow over the redevelopment of the Sir Stamford Hotel at Sydney's Circular Quay. The aim was to transform the hotel into a A$400 million apartment block, but battlelines have been drawn over how planning and heritage authorities have handled the project, The Australian newspaper reports . Mulpha, headed by Lee Seng Huang, who took over the reins from his billionaire father Lee Ming Tee, is suing Stamford Land Corporation, controlled by Singaporean tycoon CK Ow, over plans to convert the Sir Stamford, with the building set to double in height. Mulpha owns the InterContinental Sydney and adjoining Transport House, which sits behind the Sir Stamford. The demolition of the Sir Stamford and its replacement with a 19-floor tower would affect the view from the InterContinental, including of the Opera House. Mulpha alleges that not only did the New State Wales Heritage Council misinterpret large sections of local planning controls, but also the City of Sydney did not forward all negative public submissions about the proposal to the Heritage Council. According to the newspaper, planning controls call for a 35 metre-45 metre building overlooking the Botanic Gardens, with the tower set back by 10 metre. Stamford wants the building to rise 22.5 metres along the street line, and is arguing for a smaller set-back, in parts of only 6.2 metres, according to a report prepared by urban planning firm Architectus for the Heritage Council. The project has yet to receive council approval, but the City of Sydney found the set-back was "appropriate" and referred the proposal to the Heritage Council, which was "prepared to issue an approval", according to the summons.