March 3, 2019 / 11:37 PM / in 2 months

UPDATE 1-Crown Resorts says its bid to extend project start date fails

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March 4 (Reuters) - Australia’s biggest casino company Crown Resorts Ltd said on Monday it has been informally notified that its application to extend the start date for a planned skyscraper project in Melbourne has been rejected.

Funding arrangements for the One Queensbridge project with the Schiavello Group could not be reached before the construction start date allowed under the planning approval, Crown said in a statement.

The refusal to extend the two-year approval timeline comes as Australia’s property market is weakening. Sydney and Melbourne comprise about 60 percent of Australia’s housing market by value.

Crown received planning approval for the project, which includes a luxury hotel and an apartment complex, from the Victorian state government in February 2017.

Crown, which said it expected to receive formal notification shortly, retains a 50 percent ownership interest in the land.

Crown is also developing a A$2.2 billion ($1.56 billion)casino on the Sydney waterfront.

Last month, the company reported a slowdown in its half-year profit growth, hurt by a sharp decline in spending by Chinese tourists at its properties.

Shares of the company rose 1 percent on Monday morning, in line with a 0.6 percent gain in the broader market. ($1 = 1.4081 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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