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Overview

Funded by the Geelong City Deal, the Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre precinct will include the construction of the purpose-built convention and exhibition space, incorporating a 1000 seat venue, two large exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, conference facilities and flexible event spaces.

The precinct will also be home to retail spaces for food and beverage offerings, a large public plaza that promises to become a feature of the Geelong waterfront and a 200-room Crowne Plaza hotel.

Plenary Conventions has been appointed to develop the project and have started work on what will be one of the biggest developments in regional Victoria.

The Plenary Conventions consortium will transform the 1.6-hectare waterfront car parking site into a precinct that welcomes locals and visitors alike as part of the precinct partnership. The consortium comprises Plenary Group as sponsor and investor as well as hotel and commercial office developer, Built as builder, Woods Bagot as architect and BGIS as facilities management services contractor.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust will operate the Centre once complete.

Geelong’s Western Beach cliffs are an important cultural and spiritual place for Wadawurrung people, and Plenary Conventions are working with Traditional Owners to celebrate this culture through the precinct’s design – including the public plaza that will see the return of events and community gatherings to the site, a place where the Wadawurrung people gathered together for thousands of years.

The Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre precinct will support 1,450 jobs during construction and an additional 700 ongoing jobs once complete. The hotel will further boost employment opportunities and strengthen the region’s visitor economy.

The Victorian Government is contributing $423 million to the project, with the Australian Government contributing $30 million and $3 million from the City of Greater Geelong – bringing the total commitment to $456 million.

Development Victoria is pleased to be involved with this exciting regional project that will create hundreds of jobs during construction and ongoing jobs when complete.

3,700 sqm event space

1450 jobs during construction

700 ongoing jobs

Naming Nyaal Banyul

Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation has gifted a name to the Geelong Convention and Event Centre.

The convention centre building (and by extension the public plaza) is named the Nyaal Banyul, Geelong Convention and Event Centre. Pronounced 'N-yaal - Bahn- Yule'.

This name is returning Wadawurrung language to country at a site that was originally used for gatherings known as baierr. The name Nyaal Banyul means: ‘open your eyes to the hills.’The name is made up of two Wadawurrung words – Nyaal meaning to open your eyes, and Banyul meaning hill. This name was chosen to encourage people at the site to take time to appreciate the landscapes of Wadawurrung Country.

The new name recognises the commitment of the Victorian Government and its partners through the Geelong City Deal to recognise the local Aboriginal cultural history and connections to the land. The Victorian Government is working closely with First Peoples through the various Geelong City Deal projects to integrate local aboriginal culture.

The Victorian Government and the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation have collaborated closely through the initial briefing and request for proposal stage and will now join with the Plenary Conventions consortium members to further integrate Wadawurrung culture and history into the design, construction and opening of this important community asset.

Location

Development Victoria acknowledges the Wadawurrung people as the Traditional Custodians of the land.

Who to contact about this project

Suppliers

Local businesses and suppliers can register their interest through the Industry Capability Network (ICN) Gateway.

For all other enquiries email gcec@development.vic.gov.au

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About the project

There are 5 key objectives that guide the project team throughout all project stages, from design to construction.

Objective 1.

Position the Precinct as Victoria’s premium regional convention, exhibition and events destination

Deliver a high-quality convention and event facility and hotel which has appropriate flexibility, adaptability and accessibility to attract and accommodate the broadest possible range of events and attendees.

Objective 2.

Revitalise central Geelong

Contribute to the revitalisation of central Geelong by activating the entire precinct through the coordinated master planning, delivery and operation of the convention and exhibition centre facility, public realm and other uses of the Site, and providing the catalyst for other development and public realm enhancements around the Site.

Objective 3. 

Drive the region’s visitor and knowledge economies

Maximise direct and indirect economic benefit by attracting and enhancing business and tourism activity in Geelong and the south-west region of Victoria and complementing and building upon the existing cultural offering within the region.

Objective 4. 

Enhance Geelong’s position as a UNESCO City of Design through excellence in design and sustainability initiatives across the precinct.

Including, achieving excellent design and exemplar sustainability outcomes and a design outcome that recognises the indigenous heritage of the Wadawurrung and appropriately celebrates their enduring influence over the Site and surrounds.

Objective 5. 

Create and capture value

Deliver a facility and precinct by creating, capturing and reinvesting value in the project.

Including, achieving excellent value for money in the construction and efficient and sustainable operation of the facility, and creating and capturing value from complementary activities for the benefit of the Centre facility and enhanced precinct outcomes.


From 2026, a mixed-use tower is to be developed on the site bounded by Cavendish and Smythe Streets. This is intended to include office accommodation and supporting retail elements.

All development will comply with the Central Geelong Framework Plan.


Construction

All approvals were obtained in late 2023, and main construction works began in early 2024.

We expect to see the first event hosted in 2026.

Due to the plant and equipment required to facilitate these works, changed traffic conditions, including temporary road closures and/or out-of-hours activities will be required during the construction of the project. When required, these works will be planned in conjunction with the Council and notifications issued in advance.

Built will adhere to the Environment Protection Authority Guidelines for construction noise levels to ensure minimal disruption to the surrounding community. Several mitigation measures will be implemented to manage noise, including limiting out-of-hours works, controlling material movement, managing truck noise, and encouraging quieter equipment use.

 

To help manage dust migration from the site, several strategies will be implemented to minimise public and neighbouring impacts. These include equipment maintenance, speed restrictions for vehicles leaving, subcontractor compliance, perimeter shading, and targeted water sprays.


Site operating hours are as follows:

  • Monday to Friday 7:00am-7:00pm (allowable to 8pm).
  • Saturday 8:00am-3:00pm (allowable to 8pm).
  • Sunday (as required via permit application and approval).

Construction may occasionally extend beyond operating hours due to unforeseen circumstances, with approval from CoGG and authorities.


For any community concerns, you can contact the project team via gcec@built.com.au that will be monitored during the construction process.

Several strategies will be implemented during the Development Phase to ensure that construction works do not adversely impact the surrounding environment.

A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) has been developed to address waste management, noise and vibration controls, dust management, stormwater and sediment control, potential contaminants, and use of water during this phase.

The community will be informed via letterbox drops, newsletters, and email updates for those interested. The Victorian Government through Development Victoria will host meetings to discuss crucial upcoming events with the community as required.

Erect full-height hoardings will be along the perimeter streets at the Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre, with site gates for controlled access, and secure pedestrian entry points for construction workforce use. External scaffolds will undergo rigorous engineering and safety checks, along with employing a static security system and rapid response for unauthorised activity. Adequate lighting will be maintained for overall safety and security, benefiting both the public and site workers.

Public safety will be managed during construction through various measures. Overhead gantries and scaffolding are erected to prevent falling objects and debris. Ground-level enclosures with engineered hoarding limit unauthorised access and potential tripping hazards. Signage on hoardings follows OHS requirements, including site safety regulations, pedestrian warnings, and emergency contact information.

Pedestrian access along key streets is maintained with a minimum 1.5m clear width, and permits are obtained when footpath occupation is required. These precautions ensure a safe environment for both the public and workers during construction.

To ensure the most efficient site access for construction activities, majority of access will be from Smythe Street so that construction traffic on Western Beach Road is minimised as far as practicable.

Project Updates

We are committed to keeping neighbouring buildings informed throughout the delivery of this project. If you have any queries in relation to construction, please contact Built directly via gcec@built.com.au.

For all other enquiries about Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre, please email gcec@development.vic.gov.au.

You can subscribe to email updates or find more info on the project webpage.


Procurement

Yes. The precinct development is being delivered in partnership with the private sector. This model is the best way to achieve the best outcomes for the entire precinct which forms an integral part in revitalising central Geelong under the Geelong City Deal.

The model incentivises architectural design excellence for the precinct and it will also facilitate the timely and concurrent delivery of a hotel, capturing greatest possible public value for the government’s investment.


Design

The design will seek to adhere to the following overarching principles:

  • Reflect ‘Geelong’ civic style – unique and beautiful
  • Flexible, multi-functional facility capable of hosting a wide range of events
  • Celebrate views across Corio Bay to Wurdi Youang (You Yangs)
  • Celebrate and protect the site’s Wadawurrung cultural heritage
  • Activate all four street frontages
  • Achieve north-south permeability through the site and enhance connectivity
  • Integrate with the surrounding site context
  • Provide exemplar patron safety, comfort and amenity
  • Minimise trucks and traffic on Western Beach Road and Gheringhap Street
  • Maximise sustainability and accessibility outcomes


Designs can be viewed on this project webpage.

The Plenary Conventions consortium which the State selected to be the preferred bidder through the procurement process is continuing to develop the design detail.

The buildings within the precinct development will vary in height and accord with an approved Incorporated Document (No. S 351) which mirrors the controls of the Central Geelong Framework Plan. The Framework Plan sets out the planning controls for the built form in central Geelong, including building heights, overshadowing requirements and building setbacks.

  1. The Nyaal Banyul convention and event centre building is proposed to be 28 metres tall.
  2. The hotel, proposed to be located in the south-eastern corner of the site, will reach a height of 42 metres.
  3. The mixed-use development, proposed to be located in the southwestern corner of the site, is proposed to be 60 metres tall.


Universal access principles have been a key part of the functional requirements for the project. Despite the slope across the site, the public realm maximises the use of ramps incorporated into landscaped elements complemented by stairs which double as informal seating and respite opportunities. The internal organisation of the facility is welcoming and accessible to all users.

The precinct will be a climate positive project and the Centre aims to be the Southern Hemisphere's most healthy Convention Centre (WELL Health Safety Rating). The centre aims to be Australia's most circular building exceeding benchmarks and policy targets for Victoria's circular economy.

The Precinct comprises many intertwined layers of history including thousands of years of Indigenous settlement, post-colonial surveys and subdivisions, wool warehouses, businesses premises and housing.

The project has sought to recognise all elements of this rich and varied history and to recognise Waverley House through means other than retention, such as a digital interpretation and potential re-use of materials on-site.

To transform the 1.6-hectare carpark into a world class precinct, Waverley House has been removed to allow for the public plaza to connect to Western Beach and the Deakin University precinct.

The public plaza celebrates the return of events and community gatherings to the site, which was used as a gathering place for the Wadawurrung people for thousands of years – setting the precinct apart from anywhere else in the world.

The plaza will be used year-round for informal gatherings, public events and cultural celebrations, celebrating the fusion of ancient history with today. 

Yes. The Minister for Planning approved the precinct Master Plan and the Development Plan for the convention centre and Hotel in December 2023.

The Master Plan is the result of years of advocacy and extensive engagement from the community and industry professionals.

For more detailed information on this process, you can visit the Revitalising Central Geelong webpage.

Community Input

The Geelong community have been the biggest advocates for this project. The precinct development responds to the demand for events in this region and will create jobs and stimulate the economy for decades to come.

The project team consulted with the community in 2022 to help finalise the project’s objectives and inform the preparation of the request for proposal (RFP) documentation issued to the shortlisted consortia of developers, designers and builders in October 2022.

Visit Engage Victoria to view a summary of the key findings.

Further opportunities to learn more about the project will continue to be made available. You can subscribe to email updates or find more info on the project webpage.

Parking and Transport

The agreement between Deakin University and the Victorian Government has enabled Deakin to complete the construction of a multi-deck car park facility on land opposite the site, which provides parking for Deakin staff and students.

The new Waterfront Campus Multideck Carpark opened in January 2024, and is available to park in for students, staff and visitors.

Find out more at Deakin Universities website.


The precinct will support multi-modal transport, noting the proximity (400m) of the site to Geelong Train Station, a significant number of Geelong bus routes and central Geelong’s current and proposed main active transport routes. A carpark will be included in the final design to fulfil the requirements of the Central Geelong Framework Plan to provide car parking for the Centre, the hotel and any other elements of the precinct. It is likely that some of this parking will be available as public parking.

 

The basement carpark entry for the precinct will be accessed from Cavendish Street. The loading dock for the Centre will be accessed from Smythe Street. Space for drop-off for both cars and buses for the Centre will be along Western Beach Road, and for the Hotel on Smythe Street. This is summarised in the diagram below:

Map of access to Nyaal Bunyul. Includes Smythe Street loading area, and car park entry on Cavendish Street.

Future operations

The Victorian Government will operate the centre. This will ensure that it can leverage its investments to attract the widest range of conventions, exhibitions, and events to Victoria. The State-owned Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust (MCET), which manages the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, will bring its expertise in drawing guests from across Australia and around the globe to Geelong. MCET will work closely with the existing Geelong and regional business events network to engage with local supply chains as much as possible.

The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust is working closely with the government project team to provide input and expert advice into the planning, design, development, and future operation of the Centre.

Geelong will have a dedicated, locally based management team along with event delivery teams, including opportunities for permanent, part-time and casual employees. The Victorian Government estimates the operation of the centre and activation of the precinct is expected to create 700 ongoing jobs.

Once built, the Centre may host a range of events, ranging from large scale corporate functions to international music and theatre, trade shows and public exhibitions.

Economy and jobs

Nationally, business events contribute around $36 billion to Australia’s economy, about $12 billion of which is in Victoria. In 2019, MCEC alone contributed $1.1 billion to Victoria’s economy. It is anticipated precinct will generate millions in economic benefit to the region.

Each event at the centre will benefit local hoteliers, event organisers, food providores, catering, cleaning and security staff, technicians, logistics and transport operators and more.

As the project is in the early stages, specific staffing requirements are not yet known. Once this is known, positions for the centre will be advertised. Future positions and expressions of interest will be advertised via Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Careers.

Local suppliers interested in participating in the construction of the precinct should register an Expression of Interest.


Updated on 16 May 2024