ACT planning minister Mick Gentleman used his controversial call-in powers to fast-track approval for a new media centre for Manuka Oval because he feared it would not be completed in time for Canberra's first international cricket Test match.
The oval will host its first ever Test when Australia faces Sri Lanka in January 2019.
But because the existing media box does not meet the International Cricket Council's standards, the ACT government promised in 2016 to build a new, state-of-the-art centre before the match.
A $1.8 million contract for the centre's construction was signed in September and a development application that put the total cost at $7 million was filed in October.
A spokesman for Mr Gentleman told The Canberra Times because the minister was certain ACTPLA would have approved the project, he called it in on December 11 so it would be ready in time for the match.
It is not clear how much longer the process would have taken had the minister not intervened.
The spokesman said the planning officials had thoroughly assessed the application, and it had been ticked off by the National Capital Authority.
He also pointed to extensive community consultation on the project, including a workshop, drop-in sessions and opportunities for online feedback.
Call-in powers are one of the most controversial aspects of the city's planning system, allowing the planning minister to "call in" major projects and approve them, bypassing the normal planning process and heading off any appeals.
Mr Gentleman has previously used his ministerial authority to force through the demolition of Northbourne Avenue public housing in Lyneham and Dickson, and approve the Ngunnawal bush healing farm, even though the zoning of the land did not allow clinical services to take place.
The spokesman for Mr Gentleman said the site of the future media centre, on the southern edge of the oval, had been fenced off in late December.
Development application documents show it will be about 19 metres high and 40 metres long, with a gross floor area of 2804 square metres.
ICC media and broadcast requirements include print press rooms with 75 seated desk positions, press conference facilities, two TV broadcast studios, and six radio boxes.
The four-storey building will also include a scorer's box and an outdoor area with a barbecue and a bar.
While a heritage assessment acknowledged the centre would be "visually prominent", it said the timber materials and neutral colours of the centre was "respectful" of the surrounding oval and would not detract from the "prominence and character" of other buildings in the precinct.
Work is scheduled to start in late January or early February, and construction will be completed by October.
"During the construction period all events will go ahead as scheduled," the spokesman said.
"Most of the media centre will be pre-fabricated off-site, so minimal disruption is anticipated."
It is not the first time a development proposal at Manuka Oval has been called in.
In 2012, then planning minister Simon Corbell used his ministerial authority to fast-track the approval of new lighting to ensure work was finished in time for an international cricket match between Australia and the West Indies the following February.