NCCC Major Face lift
For the first time in almost a decade, the National Convention Centre Canberra is enjoying a major facelift.
17 February 2016
Stage 1 work is underway with the National Convention Centre Canberra spending $2.7 million on installing new carpet and furniture in the foyer, refurbishing its reception area and perking up its conference office (based on feedback from customers), adding a designated cloak room, rolling out a major upgrade of bathrooms, and installing digital signage.
A lot of work is already complete, including the major refurbishment of the ‘Star Dressing Room’ used by high-profile entertainers putting on shows at the Canberra. All Stage 1 work is expected to be completed by 30 June. Stage 2 work is scheduled for completion by end June 2017.
Stephen Wood, General Manager, says several local suppliers, large and small, are being used to ensure the project generates economic benefits here in the capital. 'It’s important for us to be more than just "present" in the community,' says Stephen. 'We don’t exist in isolation. We’re part of Canberra and are active in the community through strong, local partnerships.'
Philip Leeson Architects, with its multidisciplinary team, managed the architectural design. Monarch Interior Solutions is spearheading implementation with its commitment to high-quality workmanship and attention to detail. Canberra Floorcraft is also on the job. Timber, including blackbutt and ash, is being sourced from Thor’s Hammer, a joinery, sawmill and recycled timber yard based at The Old Brickworks.
The major works began on 18 December and has been staged so it’s 'business as usual' at the Centre while work is underway. Bookings are still being made and major conferences and concerts being held, with work rolling out without customer disruption. 'We closed on 18 December and started the refurb that day,' says Stephen. 'Then we stopped for five days from 2 January to put on a conference for 1,000 people. Then everyone was back pushing through with major work in the foyer.'
The last major refurbishment at the National Convention Centre Canberra was in 2007, with a large percentage of funds being spent on compliance. Total funding from the ACT Government this time is $5.4 million (part of budget process), to be spent over two years (to end June 2017). The work is more than just cosmetic. It’s a serious effort to attract more conference business into Canberra, and the timing is perfect with the recent announcement of international flights linking the capital with Singapore and New Zealand.
'Attracting conference business to Canberra has a major ripple effect through the economy as conference delegates spend on accommodation, dining, attractions and retail, which all support local jobs,' says Stephen. 'There is growing recognition that business events make a broader contribution to the destination, delivering innovation, knowledge and performance.'
As a separate project, the National Convention Centre Canberra has a major upgrade of its website underway and will be at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo in Melbourne (23 and 24 February), as part of the Canberra presence, to promote the capital as an attractive destination for business events (Stand 4642).
The National Convention Centre is managed by InterContinental Hotels Group, which has been operating in the capital for 26 years. The centre opened in 1989 and is Canberra’s only conference centre. It recently won the Qantas Tourism Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism (Canberra Region Tourism Awards 2015). It also picked up a top award in the 2015 Australian Hotel Association ACT Hospitality Awards.
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