Australia’s newest event space has arrived with Acting Premier James Merlino announcing Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s expansion site officially open July 8. The expansion includes a 25 percent increase in event space, which is anticipated to generate an additional 74,000 international visitors annually, resulting in an annual $167 million boost to the Victorian economy. The new space was put to use immediately by the inaugural Malaria World Congress.
“We’re incredibly proud of our expansion and the benefits it will bring for our customers, our city and our state,” says John Brumby, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust chairman. “A project like this involves a lot of different people and I think the success of this building is testament to the strong engagement among key stakeholders throughout planning and construction.”
The $205 million expansion was funded by the 2015-16 Victorian State Budget with building works commencing in 2016. The expansion adds 20,000 square meters, increasing MCEC’s total size to 70,000 square meters, heralding the venue as Australia’s largest convention and exhibition space.
“We have delivered a world class facility that is functional, adaptable and aesthetically pleasing with a quality and sophistication that reflects the attributes of Melbourne,” says Peter King, MCEC’s chief executive. “Customer experience was front of mind when planning the design—we wanted to ensure our facilities suited the needs of our customers, rather than constraining them to fit within our space. Everything we do at MCEC is based around the fact we are here to connect and inspire. We will fulfill our obligation to connect and with the help of our wonderful new spaces—we will inspire.”
The expansion includes:
- The Goldfields Theatre – a 9,000-sq.m. multi-purpose event space with a retractable 1,000-seat theater
- New exhibition halls
- Eureka meeting rooms
- Outdoor terrace area
- Sovereign Room banquet space
- Goldfields Café and Bar
The building design was a joint venture between architect firms: NH Architecture and Woods Bagot. MCEC took inspiration from Victoria’s rich history in determining names for key spaces within its expansion. The gold color of the expansion’s exterior culminated in Victoria’s goldfields becoming the theme from which names would be drawn.
“Architecture and design is at the very heart of the new MCEC expansion and is a continuation of the outstanding qualities of the existing building,” says Hamish Lyon, NH Architecture director of architecture and design. “The expansion celebrates Melbourne and the South Wharf precinct as a center of design excellence. The new event areas and public spaces will ensure the precinct is a vibrant destination for both locals and visitors.”
The expansion is part of a larger South Wharf expansion project by Plenary Group and its partners that includes a new 347-room Novotel Melbourne South Wharf and a new 1,150-space multi-level car park—all fully connected and integrated with existing buildings.
“Victoria is the national leader when it comes to major business events and the new MCEC expansion will help us attract even more visitors to our state,” says Minister for Tourism and Major Events, The Hon. John Eren MP. “Not only will this redevelopment boost tourism, it will also create more than 900 new jobs and provide a massive boost to our local economy each year.”
For more info, visit www.melbournecb.com.au.