Australia’s newest event space has arrived, with Acting Premier, James Merlino announcing Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) expansion site officially open on Sunday morning.
The expansion adds 20,000 square metres, increasing MCEC’s total size to 70,000 square metres, creating 25 percent more event space, heralding the venue as Australia’s largest convention and exhibition venue.
The new event space is anticipated to generate an additional 74,000 international visitors each year, resulting in an annual $167 million boost to the Victorian economy.
The expansion includes the Goldfields Theatre, a 9,000 square metre multi-purpose event space with a retractable 1,000 seat theatre, new exhibition halls, meeting rooms, a banquet space an outdoor terrace area and Goldfields Café and Bar.
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust Chairman, John Brumby said, “We’re incredibly proud of our expansion and the benefits it will bring for our customers, our city and our state.
“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 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 colour of the expansion’s exterior culminated in Victoria’s goldfields becoming the theme from which names would be drawn.
MCEC Chief Executive Peter King said the new spaces aimed to inspire the venue’s customers.
“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,” he said.
“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 fulfil our obligation to connect and with the help of our wonderful new spaces – we will inspire.”
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.
NH Architecture Director of Architecture and Design Hamish Lyon said, “The expansion celebrates Melbourne and the South Wharf precinct as a centre of design excellence. The new event areas and public spaces will ensure the precinct is a vibrant destination for both locals and visitors.”
Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events, The Hon. John Eren MP said the redevelopment would create more than 900 new jobs.
The 1st Malaria World Congress was the first event held in the new space.
The $205 million expansion was funded by the 2015-16 Victorian State Budget with building works commencing in 2016.
Timelapse of the MCEC expansion – November 2016 to June 2018 – courtesy of Plenary Group.