The precinct will be located at the Ballarat Railway Station, a Victorian-era building regarded as a heritage landmark.
‘The design will be focused around this grand old building, with particular attention to restoration of the bluestone heritage goods shed,’ says Laing.
Because of the location, conference delegates can travel direct by train from Melbourne and after just a 75 minute journey they will literally get off at the door of the convention centre. It makes it a great, accessible location for business events in Victoria, says Laing.
The new hotel and serviced apartments planned as part of the precinct are also welcome additions to the inner city inventory, which currently comprises small to medium size accommodation, she adds. ‘We currently have two large properties but not within the CBD.’
The City of Ballarat is working with lead agency Regional Development Victoria and VicTrack to deliver the project. Building is expected to start within two years, with current focus on design work that encompasses modernity with heritage overlays.
In more big Ballarat news, the city’s reputation as Victoria’s craft beer capital has been cemented with the just announced development of $1.2 million Australian Centre for Craft Beer Excellence, due to open in January 2018. The centre, which will offer a journey through the history and brewing of beer, will be aligned with the Federation University and feature trial tastings from the university’s own student microbrewery.
Photo caption: Genevieve Manley, stakeholder and public relations, Louise Laing, general manager marketing, Visit Ballarat.