Bidder, designs announced for $300M Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre

It is one of the largest development projects in regional Victoria.

Plenary Conventions has been selected as the preferred bidder to deliver the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre precinct development.

The project includes a $260 million investment by the Victorian government, a further $30 million from the Australian government, and $3 million from the City of Greater Geelong, making it one of the largest development projects in regional Victoria.

Once complete, the existing 1.6-hectare waterfront car parking site will become a 1,000-seat venue, with two exhibition spaces, as well as meeting rooms, conference facilities and flexible event spaces.

The Trust that operates Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) will manage and operate the new Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre, with the two centres cementing Victoria as a premier global destination for events.

“We’re looking forward to leveraging MCEC’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,” MCEC chief executive, Natalie O’Brien AM, said.

“Each event we host at the centre will benefit a local ecosystem of hoteliers, event organisers, food providores, tourism operators, suppliers and so much more.”

The precinct will also be home to retail spaces for food and beverage offerings and a large public plaza that promises to become a feature of the Geelong waterfront. It will also include a 200-room hotel under the Crowne Plaza brand. 

The development of the facility and precinct has included extensive stakeholder consultation and ongoing work with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation on critical aspects of the precinct’s design, identity and recognition of local cultural heritage.  

To deliver on the vision, Plenary Group will act as sponsor and investor, with Built as the builder, Woods Bagot as the architect, BGIS as the services contractor, and Quintessential Equity as the developer.

“The City of Geelong has undergone significant growth in recent years,” Federal Minister for Regional Development, Catherine King, said. “This development will build on its reputation as a business and sporting powerhouse in regional Victoria.” 

The project will create 600 jobs during construction, and a further 270 ongoing jobs once the precinct has been completed. Additionally, as many as 30 local apprentices and trainees that are experiencing disadvantage will be recruited and given the opportunity to enter the workforce.

“With a waterfront precinct that rivals any in the country, this convention centre precinct will add to Geelong’s status as a UNESCO City of Design, and attract even more people to come and explore all this wonderful city has to offer,” Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Harriet Shing, said.

“Delivering the project will also be a major boost to the region, generating hundreds of jobs and injecting millions of dollars into the local economy.” 

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