$1b Darling Harbour Upgrade to Create Meetings Supervenue

The 30-year-old Sydney Entertainment Centre is to be replaced by “an integrated exhibition and entertainment precinct” costing around $1 billion.

NSW premier Barry O’Farrell has announced the Sydney Entertainment Centre will be demolished and a “fully integrated convention centre” that will include Australia’s largest exhibition space will replace it.

The new complex will have 6000m² of meeting room space – Australia’s largest – and an 8000 person “red carpet” entertainment facility.

Two consortia, led by Lend Lease and by Brookfield Multiplex, are bidding for the redevelopment.

Sydney’s Convention and Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour will be closed for three years from the end of 2013 while the redevelopment takes place.

The new Infrastructure NSW, headed by the former premier Nick Greiner, will project manage the redevelopment as part of a Public Private Partnership created for the project.

Accommodation could be built on Darling Harbour parkland as part of the overhaul after the state government approved a 66% increase in the area of Darling Harbour taking in Tumbalong Park and the airspace above the road behind the exhibition and convention centres.

“The project will mean a complete facelift for Darling Harbour – as well as the world-class facilities,” Mr O’Farrell said. “They [the new facilities] will bring NSW an economic benefit of more than $1 billion over five years.

“NSW has already lost $150 million in economic benefit over the four years to 2010-11 because the current facilities have not been able to accommodate 169 conventions and 12 exhibitions,” Mr O’Farrell said.

”Commercial development is being considered to activate the precinct for Sydneysiders and visitors to enjoy with a mix of retail shops, public spaces, dining areas, a hotel and other accommodation among the options.”

As a result of the announcements regarding the closure of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Meetings & Events Australia will be hosting a free information session for all industry people to hear directly from Infrastructure NSW on what the changes mean for the industry.

To be held in conjunction with the MEA 2012 National Conference next week, this important addendum will be an opportunity for the industry and related stakeholders to hear from Infrastructure NSW what work has already been undertaken and to ask questions about the future of the site.

Linda P Gaunt, chief executive officer, Meetings & Events Australia invite meetings and events professionals and industry stakeholders to join this significant discussion.

“This is a great opportunity for the meetings and events industry to come along and ask the questions they want answered. It is a substantial announcement for our industry and this session is a chance to hear from colleagues, stakeholders and to ‘have your say’,” stated Gaunt.

Speakers at the update will be:

• Tim Parker – Infrastructure NSW

• Gary Thomas – Infrastructure NSW

• Linda P Gaunt, CEO – Meetings & Events Australia

• Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO – BESydney

The session will take place on 24 April, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre from 7.00am – 8.30am at the MEA National Conference.

To attend the update RSVP to Cherelle Anom on (02) 9929 5400 or [email protected] by 20 April.

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