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Iconic design revealed for Geelong’s new convention centre as preferred bidder announced


Artist impression of the public plaza entrance, with wrap around stairs and ramps leading into a sweeping entrance with floor to ceiling windows reaching up to 4 stories high.

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

Plenary Conventions has been appointed to lead the project and will soon start on what will be one of the biggest developments in regional Victoria.

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

The Plenary Conventions consortium will transform the 1.6-hectare waterfront car parking site into a precinct that welcomes locals and visitors alike as part of the Public Private Partnership.  The consortium comprises the Plenary Group as sponsor and investor, Built as builder, Woods Bagot as architect, BGIS as services contractor and Quintessential Equity as developer.

The development of this world-class 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.

It will include the construction of the purpose-built convention and exhibition space, incorporating a 1000 seat venue, two large exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, conference facilities and flexible event spaces.

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. In a boost for Geelong’s up-market accommodation stocks the development will also include a 200-room hotel under the internationally renowned Crowne Plaza brand.

The investment will be a major driver of jobs and economic growth for the City of Greater Geelong and surrounding areas. It will support 600 jobs during construction and an additional 270 ongoing jobs once the precinct is complete.

To ensure lasting benefits to the region beyond the centre itself, the Government is supporting local organisation gforce to recruit up to 30 new local apprentices and trainees who are experiencing disadvantage in entering the workforce.

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

The Plenary Conventions consortium has a proven track record developing and maintaining the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and enhancing the South Wharf precinct for nearly 20 years.

The Trust that operates Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre will also manage and operate the new Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre, once complete. The two centres will cement Victoria as a premier global destination for events.

Preliminary works on the site are underway and construction is set to begin shortly, with the convention centre and hotel expected to be finished in 2026, after which work will start on a complementary commercial development that will form an important part of the precinct, which promises to be vibrant and active all year round.

The precinct development is the centrepiece of the Geelong City Deal - a $500+ million commitment between the Australian and Victorian governments and the City of Greater Geelong. It is revitalising the city and regional economy, encouraging visitors to spend more time in the region by capitalising on its natural assets.

For more information on the Geelong City Deal and precinct, visit the Department of Geelong City Deal.