The Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCEC) precinct development is moving forward with the selection of the preferred bidder, Plenary Conventions, to lead the project. The Victorian Government is investing over $260 million, with additional contributions from the Australian Government and the City of Greater Geelong. The project aims to transform a waterfront car parking site into a world-class precinct with a purpose-built convention and exhibition space, a 1,000-seat venue, meeting rooms, and flexible event spaces.
The development will also include retail spaces, a large public plaza, and a 200-room hotel under the Crowne Plaza brand. Extensive stakeholder consultation and collaboration with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation are ensuring the precinct’s design reflects local cultural heritage.
The investment is expected to create jobs and boost economic growth, supporting 600 jobs during construction and 270 ongoing jobs once completed. To benefit the region beyond the centre, the government is working with local organization gforce to recruit up to 30 new local apprentices and trainees.
The Plenary Conventions consortium, known for its successful work on the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and South Wharf precinct, will manage and operate the new Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Construction is set to begin soon, with the center and hotel expected to be completed in early 2026.
The precinct development is a crucial part of the Geelong City Deal, a $500+ million commitment between the Australian and Victorian governments and the City of Greater Geelong, aimed at revitalizing the city and regional economy and attracting more visitors to the area.