MCEC Expansion on target for mid-year opening

Laurence DragomirFebruary 26, 20180 min read

There’s been a flurry of activity at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) $200 million expansion site, with remarkable progress being made during throughout the latter stages of 2017.

Designed by Woods Bagot and NH Architecture for the Victorian Government’s partner in the project, Plenary Group, the expansion will maintain the built quality and delegate experience at the existing MCEC and maintain its leading benchmark status in the Asia-Pacific region.

The 20,000 square metres expansion includes 9,000 square metres of flexible, multi-purpose event space, new exhibition halls, additional meeting rooms, a banquet room and the Goldfields Café and Bar. Once completed, the new space will cement MCEC’s position as the largest convention and exhibition space in Australia, with an increased total size of over 70,000 square metres. 

MCEC Expansion on target for mid-year opening
How the completed MCEC Expansion and Novotel will look. Image : Supplied

Set to open mid-year, the new space has been architecturally designed to provide customers with more options for any event type; from meetings and conferences through to educational seminars or gala dinners. A multi-purpose space will have retractable seating for up to 1,100 people; service pods, meeting rooms and informal meeting spaces.

There will also be a large concourse and a banquet room with capacity to cater for up to 450 people.

Probuild will have the construction programme to a point whereby as of late this month the installation of the central staircase, distinctive gold exterior panels and a skylight over the new foyer space will be in place. 

MCEC took inspiration from Victoria’s rich history in determining names for key spaces within its expansion. The greatest inspiration came from the gold colour of the expansion’s exterior, culminating in Victoria’s goldfields becoming the theme from which names would be drawn. 

From the Goldfields Theatre, Sovereign Room, Eureka Rooms and Goldfields Café and Bar, the names link to the goldfields of Victoria’s past having been a place for people to gather along with a period of new opportunities, ideas, prosperity and grandeur.

MCEC Expansion on target for mid-year opening
Construction progress during January

The works are part of a larger South Wharf expansion project that includes a new 347-room Novotel Melbourne South Wharf and a new 1,150-space multi-level car park – all fully connected and integrated with existing buildings. The multi-level car park is complete, and the new hotel will open in March.

The expansion will include: more meeting rooms, a gala ballroom, 6 new exhibition bays, retractable theatre, courtyard meeting rooms, outdoor terrace and a new cafe and bar.

Access to the new exhibition hall will be via the new concourse or the new central hub space, which will be the dynamic focal point of this new precinct. Linked to both the existing exhibition centre concourse and the main plenary foyer this exciting new hub space will be the place for people to meet and connect.

As the first convention centre in the world to be awarded a 6-Star Green Star environmental rating, sustainability remains at the core of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) business priorities. Over the past two years the venue has decreased energy consumption in the Exhibition Centre by 30 per cent, due to the introduction of ecological and sustainable infrastructure. 

The venue has invested in a new CO2 monitoring system, variable speed drives, energy efficient chillers, an energy management system and are currently trialling LED lights in the Exhibition Centre bays to further reduce energy usage. 

Although the venue is set to grow by 25 per cent when the expansion project reaches completion in mid-2018, MCEC is working to ensure its carbon emissions don’t increase through sourcing power from renewable energy.


We want to ensure our facilities suit the needs of our customers, rather than constraining them to fit within our space. A multi-purpose area with a retractable 1,000 seat theatre and adaptable meeting rooms are just two of the many flexible features throughout the new building.

Before we have even cut the ribbon, we have 220 events confirmed for our new expansion space, commencing at mid-2018. I look forward to officially opening the new space later this year.

- Peter King, MCEC Chief Executive


Our expansion is an absolute game changer – we’re talking three and a half MCGs of new space to attract more events and thousands more visitors to Victoria. Not only will this redevelopment boost tourism, it will also create more than 900 new jobs and provide a massive boost to our local economy each year.

- Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Hon. John Eren

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.
South Wharf
Plenary Group
Woods Bagot
NH Architecture
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