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PROJECT: Melbourne Convention Centre

60035 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have lobbied for years for a new convention venue, arguing that Melbourne's existing 1500-seat centre is hopelessly outdated.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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State to press down hard on Yarra's 'final missing tooth'
19 August 2006
The Age

Billion-dollar convention centre 'must be finished' by December 2008

HOW many pylons does it take to prop up a $1 billion project?

More than 1000, bored 24 metres into the ground, which will support the state convention centre - described as the Yarra River's "final missing tooth".

The winning tender was announced as recently as March but work has already begun on the centre's skeleton, which will slot in between the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre on Southbank and Yarra's Edge in Docklands.

The Plenary Group's principal John O'Rourke is watching the clock, for the developer will pay multimillion-dollar penalties if the public-private partnership runs over time. Mr O'Rourke said the consortium had learned from "some good experiences and some bad ones . . . on recent PPP projects".

Burned by delays and cost blow-outs on other major projects such as Southern Cross railway station and Federation Square, the State Government has imposed strict conditions to ensure the convention centre is finished promptly.

"This deal has financial penalties from the state but also has commercial revenues we expect to earn from the hotel, so there is both a carrot and a stick," Mr O'Rourke said.

The first crane will be on site next February and construction is due to finish in December 2008. Thousands of biochemists, botanists and psychologists from around the world are already booked into the centre from 2010. The 5000-seat venue will be accompanied by a 13-storey Hilton hotel, a 12-storey office and apartment tower, car park, retail centre, a cafe/lifestyle precinct, new maritime museum and pedestrian footbridge.

The State Government is contributing $370 million, Melbourne City Council $43 million, and the Multiplex Plenary Consortium $570 million. But the design has been criticised by some, given the project's expense.

Architecture professor Kim Dovey said it was good to provide the Yarra's "missing tooth". But the centre itself butted up against the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre rather than integrating with it.

Professor Dovey also labelled the hotel and office/residential towers "extremely boring".

But Major Projects Minister John Lenders said the economic benefits were more important than a dazzling design. "I think we have picked a great design and functional centre which will bring jobs to the whole of Victoria," he said.

The State Government was three months late announcing the winning bidder - a drawn-out battle between the consortium and Bovis Lend Lease.

And it attracted criticism for picking a $1 billion project, double that of Bovis' bid.

But business groups such as the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry believe the international conference market will deliver long-term financial benefits.



Solar panels provide 100 per cent of public amenity hot water requirements


Timber from renewable sources, materials and components have a high recycled content and minimal PVC use


Slab heated to provide energy-efficient thermal comfort and reduce air-conditioning requirements


Low-level air delivery and high-level air exhaust. Provides high indoor air quality at low energy consumption Rainwater and stormwater collection Landscape/ irrigation reuse All waste water collection Auditorium


Treats wastewater, rainwater and stormwater to grade A quality for reuse in building. Reduces flow to sewer


- Building senses infitration of natural light and adjusts artificial lighting to conserve energy

- Secure bicycle and shower facilities for cyclists
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Very enviromental. Like the 6 star city council building. :) 1000 pylons is well lots and lots and lots!!! 24 metres is quite far down as well. Great article Archibomber
But Major Projects Minister John Lenders said the economic benefits were more important than a dazzling design. "I think we have picked a great design and functional centre which will bring jobs to the whole of Victoria," he said.
Yeah, but if the govt is going to be criticised for opting for the $1 billion development, then it should deliver a dazzling design. Regardless, it speaks volumes about the Bracks govt that there has not been any dazzling design on the large infrastructure projects since the Kennet Govt. (even Central Pier's been cancelled). I agree with what Grollo said in another thread....I'm waiting with baited breath to see what Denton actually does (I won't hold my breath).
Sorry - I think this development is great for the Southbank precinct, but it's very underwhelming :bash:

Bracks is a man who balances head and heart very well. To much head and other areas suffer (trust me when you need the health system as my sister did when she died from cancer, you damn well hope it has not run down) Kennet ran down the health system and education to get his great designs. The convention centre will look smart, utilitarian, but it will be no masterpiece. Victoria only has so much money to spend any thing else just places a tremendous strain on Victoria’s resources, which can only stretch so far. We would all love more wow factor buildings, but this is simply unrealistic. However a consortium of public and private investment will still bring the attractive designs to the city. You can’t simply blame government for bad designs. Bracks is a managing the economy in a far more balanced way than Kennet did.
"And it attracted criticism for picking a $1 billion project, double that of Bovis' bid."

I think the point was that after commiting to so much money, a great design should have been a mandatory part of the package. Half of that with Bovis, and a more functional design could have been acceptable.

.Correct but we are talking a multi use structure that balances economic sustainability and environment sustainability. This is maybe why the building is so expensive and designed so plainly. The energy efficiency of the MCC will save government plenty of money over time. But I do see your point and agree that improvements could be made. But politicians aren't artistic visionaries, they are usually choose artistically boring buildings and think they are attractive. So perhaps in this area Kennet may have been more discerning. Who was responsible for that biscuit tin we call the arts centre? Now that is a building to complain about, it looks like a large public toilet!
^^I beg to differ,the Arts Centre is a masterpiece!!
:master: Roy Grounds
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I think he's actually refering to the Concert Hall, with the 'biscuit tin' reference. And I tend to agree with him on that one.
Agreed. A biscuit tin is an accurate impression of the hall! The National Gallery though I appreciate more and more with every year.
I agree Hamer hall is crap and concrete on the outside but the inside is MAGNIFICANT!!! The inside is all gold . it's truly amazing. The only problem in the inside is the concrete poles. Very ugly. :(
Thought this might give abit more insight into the design of the building and how the ESD principles will be applied.

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^awesome any more?
Thanks Archibomber. That's a functionally impressive building. It makes sense that if we're going to host thousands of biochemists, botanists, environmentalists, psychologists, and every other "ists" in the encyclopaedia you would want to do it in a building that they can technically rave about.
half site piled

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Nice update there smb - pic #1 is teh winnah
Heard from a Electrical Contractor .........

working on site that the Hilton will now be increased in Height to 19 Levels , anyone heard the same ? :cheers:
id love to seem some detailed plans....
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