Wednesday, July 26, 2023
The Victorian government has unveiled the design for a $293 million convention and exhibition complex in Geelong.
The Plenary Conventions consortium is leading the project, which intends to convert a 1.6-hectare car park property on Geelong’s waterfront. It will include a 1000-seat arena, two large exposition spaces, conference rooms, convention facilities, event spaces, retail and hospitality sections, a 200-room hotel, and a large public plaza with views of the harbour.
In order to honour the land’s cultural legacy, the design team will work with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation to include Wadawurrung people narratives and songlines into the center’s design.
The structure will include ceramic glazed tiles that reflect the textures and tones of the bay, highlighting the natural beauty of the region. Bruno Mendes, principal of Woods Bagot, stated that the center’s purpose is to link tourists with Geelong’s rich cultural past while also promoting the Bellarine Peninsula’s resources. The project complements Geelong’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design and intends to serve and improve the community for future generations.
Preliminary site construction has begun, and the conference centre and hotel are expected to be completed in 2026. The enormous project is the centrepiece of the $500 million Geelong City Deal, to which the Australian government has contributed $30 million, the Victorian government has contributed $260 million, and the City of Greater Geelong has contributed $3 million.