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PROJECT: Melbourne Convention Centre

60161 Views 502 Replies 91 Participants Last post by  CP Doom

New convention centre, bridge for city's west
By Royce Millar
City Reporter
April 19, 2004

A new footbridge over the Yarra linking Southbank and Docklands will be part of a $330 million convention precinct the State Government is expected to announce in its April statement tomorrow.

The precinct's centrepiece will be a 5000-seat convention centre, or plenary hall, earmarked for the former Mazda site next to the Exhibition Centre, widely known as Jeff's Shed.

Business groups have lobbied for years for a new convention venue, arguing that Melbourne's existing 1500-seat centre is hopelessly outdated.

The State Government has been tight-lipped about details of the April statement and has refused to confirm whether the convention centre project would be included.

Government sources said they expected the project to be a public-private partnership, with a private group building the centre and leasing it to the government.

The managers of the existing exhibition centre - a government-appointed trust - are likely to run the new centre.

But the project will hinge on support from the Melbourne City Council, which will be under intense pressure tomorrow to contribute $43 million, including about $15 million for the bridge.

Yesterday's Government announcement that it would return control of Docklands to the council was clearly timed to encourage the council to support the convention centre.

Yesterday a town hall source said the council had demanded it get Docklands back in return for a contribution to the convention centre.

A private town hall briefing today will be the first formal council discussion on the project. A special council meeting to vote on the contribution has been hastily called for tomorrow to coincide with the April statement.

Lord Mayor John So strongly supports the new centre. He will have the numbers to approve a council contribution.

But the council is split, with as many as four of the nine councillors possibly opposed to council involvement.

Finance committee chairman and former Labor Party member Kevin Chamberlin said yesterday the council administration had confirmed that a large contribution would result in service cuts, a rate rise, or both.

If the convention centre was to be a public-private partnership the council should not contribute, he said.

The Committee for Melbourne called on the council to back the project.

"People come to these conventions with millions of disposable dollars and this has a remarkable knock-on effect for business in the city," executive director Janine Kirk said.

State MPs and councillors have questioned whether Melbourne needs a new centre, when existing venues such as the Docklands football stadium can seat 5000.

But the chief executive of the existing Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, Leigh Harry, said that to compete for international conventions, Melbourne needed a centre with a large plenary hall, a large exhibition space, and plenty of smaller meeting rooms.

He said no existing Melbourne venue provided all three.

Mr Harry said among world cities Melbourne had slipped from fourth to 25th in the number of international conventions hosted.

He said that Melbourne's lack of convention capacity made it ineligible for 320 major international conventions.
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Can anyone scan the pic in the AFR & post it so that we can all see??
That pic above shows the new complex on the car park behind the sheds along the banks of the Yarra not on the old Mazda site!
Why does it need to be so close to the river, Set it way back closer to the freeway and leave some open space between the riverside sheds and the new building.
This is great news! :D And it looks like another highrise tower on Southbank next to the Charles Grimes Bridge. Its almost an extension of Yarras Edge!
Looks good. Its interesting that most of the development will occur on the existing car park and part of Lorimer St, whilst most of the old Mazda site will become more open air car parking! At least that gives us scope for a future expansion of the MEC. Great work all round, espeically with the retention of the historic sheds along the southbank of the river, a new maritime museum and the continuation of the wonderful southbank promenade. All we now need to do, is move the existing pedestrian bridge built next to the Spencer Street bridge, west to the new Maritime Museum and that will save some money!
I can only see 2 towers. Where is the 3rd one?

I think the photo is miss leading. I suspect because of the angle, it looks like 2 towers in that shot, when in fact its only 1. The other tower is closer to Charles Grimes Bridge.

There is also a poll on The Age web site.
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The tall tower you see in the distance is YE1.

There are only 2 towers proposed as is clearly shown in the pic above you posted.
I've always argued that because something was the first to use a mechanical crane, or the first place to use electric shears on sheep doesn't mean it should be heritage listed. It should be heritage listed on its historical value as well as current use within the community. If it's used for rave parties or what have you, knock it the **** down.
So you want to get rid of all our maritime and industrial history and only keep our domestic history? Now that is silly. We should never forget that this area of Melbourne was used for well over 120 years as a shipping area and keeping these wonderful sheds is how we ensure our past is not forgotten.
Well if they are spending $1 billion on Southbank, ive always wondered why they don't spend this sort of money on sinking the rail line between Spencer and Flinders st, changing the current Northbank from rail lines to park lands and open spaces?
Time and time again, people suggest this as a project for Northbank, but time and time again, people forget the engineering issues involved with such a project. To create a tunnel between Southern Cross and Flinders St, the train would have to plummet at an alarming decline soon after Collins St to get under Flinders St. The train would then have a very steep incline after Queens Bridge, and by that time, the Banana Alley vaults would have to be demolished, and the platforms would have to be extended under Fed Sq and we may even have to lose the Elizabeth St subway. Its not as easy as you may think, let alone the issues of water!
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