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Iconic Design Revealed For New Geelong Convention And Exhibition Centre

23 July 2023

The Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre precinct development is a step closer, with the announcement of the preferred bidder to build the much-anticipated project, the unveiling of proposed designs today.

Victorian Minister for Regional Development Harriet Shing joined the Member for Geelong Christine Couzens and City of Greater Geelong Mayor Trent Sullivan to officially announce the appointment of Plenary Conventions to lead the project.

The Australian Government is investing $30 million in the project as part of the Geelong City Deal, with the Victorian Government contributing more than $260 million and $3 million from the City of Greater Geelong.

The project will transform the 1.6-hectare waterfront car parking site into a world-class precinct, with the construction of a purpose-built convention and exhibition space.

There will be a 1,000-seat venue, two large exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, conference facilities and flexible event spaces.

New retail spaces will feature hospitality offerings, a large public plaza will become a feature of the Geelong waterfront and a new 200-room hotel under the Crowne Plaza brand will boost local visitation.

More than 600 jobs will be created during construction, with an extra 270 ongoing jobs created once the precinct is complete – driving more economic growth and employment opportunities.

The Victorian Government is helping local organisation gforce recruit almost 30 new local apprentices and trainees who are experiencing disadvantage in entering the workforce.

These apprentices will be employed full-time for the duration of their apprenticeship and until they secure full-time employment with private contractors.

The project consortium includes Plenary Group, Built, Woods Bagot, BGIS and Quintessential Equity.

The Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation is being consulted on the precinct’s design, identity and recognition of local cultural heritage.

Once complete, the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre will be managed and operated by the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Trust (MCET) that operates Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre – cementing Victoria as a premier global destination for events.

Preliminary site works are underway and construction is set to begin shortly, with the convention centre and hotel expected to be complete in 2026.

The precinct development is the centrepiece of the $500 million Geelong City Deal, a collaborative plan to transform the region by the Australian and Victorian governments, and the City of Greater Geelong.

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Quote attributable to Victorian Minister for Regional Development Harriet Shing

“This project is a game-changer for a rapidly growing region, generating hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars into the local economy - once complete it will be yet another drawcard for this vibrant, prosperous and beautiful part of the state.”

Quote attributable to Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King

“The City of Geelong has undergone significant growth in recent years. This development will build on its reputation as a business and sporting powerhouse in regional Victoria.”

Quotes attributable to Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Corio Richard Marles

“The Australian Government is pleased to be contributing to what will be one of the biggest developments in regional Victoria and is expected to start soon.”

“This exciting new project for Geelong will not only bring great employment opportunities during the build, but a much-needed, long-lasting venue and facility for the future of this part of Victoria.”

Quote attributable to State Member for Geelong Christine Couzens

“This centre will attract even more major events to Geelong and build more prime central accommodation - creating hundreds of jobs and boosting our region's economy.”

Quote attributable to City of Greater Geelong Mayor Cr Trent Sullivan

"This centrepiece project will take our business and short-stay offering to a new level, deliver a wide range of opportunities for existing local businesses and expand our labour market.”

Quote attributable to Chief Executive of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Natalie O’Brien AM

“We’re looking forward to leveraging MCET’s experience, capability and global networks to bring a host of exciting and important events to Geelong, and working with the community to grow the region’s well-earned reputation as a destination.”

Reviewed 24 July 2023

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