Workshop solicits feedback from companies on GCEC

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The team behind the upcoming Geelong Convention and Exhibition Center (GCEC) have reached out to the Geelong business community to share their thoughts on how the $294 million center will operate, the opportunities it could present and the events that he could accommodate.

The Geelong Chamber of Commerce hosted an online workshop for members of the chamber as well as the G21 and Committee for Geelong last Wednesday.

Organizers said the intention was to gather feedback and provide information on the project requirements, which will be released to the market as part of the bidding process in the third quarter of this year.

Many years in the making and the centerpiece of the Geelong City Deal project, the GCEC will comprise a 200-room high-end hotel and commercial spaces, with a 1,000-seat plenary hall and 3,700 m² of multi-purpose space to enable small and large events run at the same time.

The workshop established a timetable for the project, with the first expressions of interest underway and a pre-selection of promoters taking place between July and September.

Development of the Request for Proposals (RFP) and requirements, including stakeholder engagement, will take place in the second and third quarters of 2022, with the RFP to be published in the third quarter of 2022.

Tenders will be evaluated and a preferred builder named in mid-2023 and construction is expected to begin between October and December next year.

Workshop participants broke into small groups and discussed several issues, including:

* What do you hope to see in terms of local supply chain activation?

* Are there ways you would like to see the center provide local career pipelines, training and development?

* What type of local community causes, organizations or events do you think the GCEC should support?

* What opportunities do you imagine for events in the centre?

* Why are these types of events important to Geelong?

* How would you differentiate the GCEC from the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre?

GCEC’s early work has begun on a 1.6 hectare waterfront site between Western Beach Road and Smythe Street in central Geelong.

The GCEC is included in Geelong’s central master plan and will raise height and density limits, setback and shading requirements from the plan, with the shop showing a general design of the enclosure.

A two-story exhibition space along Western Beach Road is suggested, flanked by a 16-story (59 m) residential tower to the north and a 12-story (41 m) hotel tower to the south.

The workshop outlined six design principles for the ECCG, including:

* Design quality should reflect “Geelong” civic style – unique and beautiful

* Use innovative approaches to deliver ecologically, economically and socially sustainable benefits in both built form and facility operations, and

* Create a contemporary symbol for Geelong celebrating its status as a UNESCO City of Design and maximize the opportunities for use of GCEC through its design and location on the site.

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