Preliminary works started this week on the planned expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and broader South Wharf precinct.
Acting Premier of Victoria James Merlino joined Plenary Group Chairman John O’Rourke and MCEC Chief Executive Peter King to announce the start of the more than $300 million project that includes an expansion of MCEC, a new 331-room hotel and multi-storey car park.
Leading infrastructure investor, developer and manager, Plenary Group, is sponsor, investor and financial arranger for the project, with Plenary and partners investing more than $100 million.
Flagship Property Holdings is Plenary’s development partner responsible for the new hotel.
Plenary Group Chairman John O’Rourke said he was pleased to see the commencement of works after they were first announced nearly two years ago.
“This expansion was planned-for during the design stage of the first Melbourne Convention Centre development we completed in 2009, so it is great to be finally realising what we envisaged back then,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“The South Wharf car park was always designed to accommodate large buildings above it, and it is pleasing to have reached the point where we can start this exciting development.”
Mr O’Rourke said the expansion will help MCEC attract larger and more diverse events to Melbourne and will increase business and trade activity in the South Wharf precinct.
“As significant investors across the whole precinct, Plenary and Vicinity Centres are well-placed to ensure it is expanded in a way that helps attract business events while also ensuring South Wharf remains a food, beverage and retail destination.”
MCEC Chief Executive Peter King said the expansion will ensure Melbourne remains Australia’s number one business tourism and events destination for decades to come.
“The 20,000 square metre expansion of our facility includes 9,000 square metres of flexible expansion space, a 1,100-seat, multi-purpose facility and a gala banquet room for up to 450 people,” Mr King said.
“It will ensure MCEC remains Australia’s largest convention and exhibition space, and is able to accommodate the growing global demand for multi-purpose meetings and events spaces.”
Plenary has appointed contractor Probuild to construct the MCEC expansion, hotel and car park, with works expected to be complete in the first half of 2018.
Plenary was the sponsor, investor and financial arranger for the 2009 Melbourne Convention Centre development and is responsible for managing the asset under a 25-year design, build, finance and maintain contract.