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PROJECT: Melbourne Convention Centre

59469 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have lobbied for years for a new convention venue, arguing that Melbourne's existing 1500-seat centre is hopelessly outdated.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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I've just read over my past few messages and I'm ashamed at how negative I've been.........

I'm still a bit disappointed with this design, though. However there's plenty of other fantastic stuff going up in Melbourne for this not to matter too much.
Really excited about the MTC/Recital and Central Pier developments!
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I believe the bridge - in the image posted by Archibomber - is by Grimshaw.

Archibomber said:
The architects/firms involved are NH Architecture, Woods Bagot and Larry Oltermanns. John Denton would have had some input but wouldn't have been invoved in the actual designing of it. Another two renders from MECC:

Also according to Woods Bagot, construction should commence in April.
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Nobody has really picked up on the fact that Larry Oltmanns used to be a Partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and has helped design convention centres in Hong Kong, Dallas, Seoul and Adelaide and well as the the new Nato Headquarters.

The Melbourne exhibition and Conference Centre will be even larger than the Hong Kong one:

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Also the MCC design displays characteristics usually associated with deconstructivist buildings. While it's hard to tell in the renders the facade facing the Yarra actually folds in and out not unlike certain parts of Fed Square's facade, as does the roof, however it's not as full on as some deconstructivist buildings.
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a lot of people have been bitchin about this project. too close to this and that etc, not daring enough etc, no need for the bridge etc,

i reckon it looks fabulous. and towers are a good height for that area.
Looks great, exept right of that main tower, why is it only 4-5 floors? I call that a waste of space. And the bridge could go up a bit more, seems very low (damn low bridges)
Drunkill said:
Looks great, exept right of that main tower, why is it only 4-5 floors? I call that a waste of space. And the bridge could go up a bit more, seems very low (damn low bridges)
Only four or five floors allows taller buildings to be developed behind it which would create a layered vista of buildings as well as enable more poeple in other future projects to enjoy a river view.
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Someone's got a sense of humour having that yacht on the Yarra heading in the direction of the bridge.
Loving the colour of the Yarra too....
The design looks excellent and very classy! :)
Ohh, nice new renders. I'm liking that rooftop courtyard in the third pic.
I don't know whether it is rooftop, I think it's just a courtyard.
I like the Bridge. The Plenary hall is very European-continental parliament / UN-esque EH.
Strange you should say that because one of the architects, Larry Oltmanns, is also the designer of the new NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Has anyone noticed how massive this city is becoming?
Well I didn't want to say anything as it may offend certain people (they know who they are). :D
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