Designs have been unveiled for a project that will transform a 1.6-hectare car parking site into a world class convention and exhibition precinct on the waterfront in the fast-growing Victorian city of Geelong.

And a consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder for project delivery.

Set to be delivered as part of the Geelong City Deal, the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre precinct development will transform a 1.6-hectare site on the city’s waterfront into a purpose-built convention and exhibition space.

Features will include:

  • A 1,000-seat venue with two large exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, conference facilities and flexible event spaces
  • New retail spaces and hospitality offerings
  • A large public plaza that will become a feature of the Geelong waterfront; and
  • A 200-room hotel that will be operated under the Crown Plaza brand.

Meanwhile, the Plenary Conventions consortium has been appointed to lead the project.

This includes construction contractor Built, architects Woods Bagot, facilities management services contractor BGIS and commercial office developer Quintessential Equity.

The $294 million project is being delivered as part of the Geelong City Deal – a 10-year partnership between Commonwealth, Victorian and City of Greater Geelong governments that will revitalise Victoria’s second largest city and unlock the potential of the Great Ocean Road economy.

It comes as Geelong is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia.

Between June 2007 and June 2022, the population within the City of Greater Geelong grew by more than a third (36 percent) from 203,802 to 276,116.

By 2042, the City’s population is expected to reach almost 400,000.

This is in addition to strong population growth within the nearby Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast.

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

Once complete, the centre will be operated and managed by the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Trust (MCET) – the same organisation that operates Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

More than 600 jobs will be created during construction, with an extra 270 ongoing positions once the precinct is complete.

Preliminary site works are underway and construction is set to begin shortly.

The convention centre and hotel are expected to open in 2026.

Victorian Minister for Regional Development Harriet Shing welcomed the release of the new designs.

“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,” she said.

City of Greater Geelong Mayor Cr Trent Sullivan said that the project will form a centrepiece that will take the city’s business and short-stay offering to a new level and will create opportunities for local business and workers.


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