Melbourne serves up new events centre at heart of sports precinct

First peek at Centrepiece will be at IBTM World Barcelona


MELBOURNE — An expansive conference and events centre will open for business in late 2021 in the heart of the city’s sports precinct, Melbourne and Olympic Parks.

Called Centrepiece and already open for bookings, the three-level venue flanks two of Melbourne’s iconic sporting venues — Rod Laver Area, home to the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Also part of the complex, AAMI Park hosts soccer and rugby matches.

Since 1988, Melbourne Park — located on the banks of the Yarra River and within walking distance of the Melbourne CBD — has been home to the Australian Open, played each year in January.

“Not many cities can boast versatility and vitality quite like Melbourne. From the fantastic blend of cultures to world-class luxury CBD hotels, it has an atmosphere unlike any other and all located within minutes of Centrepiece at Melbourne Park,” said Lara Burnes, general manager Premier Events & Experiences.

Lara Burnes: “Centrepiece will offer ‘money can’t buy’ experiences.”
Lara Burnes: “Centrepiece will offer ‘money can’t buy’ experiences.”

The very first peek at Centrepiece will be at IBTM World Barcelona from 1-3 December 2020, when the wraps will be taken off the venue’s key features: a 2,000 sqm pillarless ballroom with 8.5m high ceilings and operable walls for multiple configurations, an 800 sqm pre-function space, and 15 breakout rooms, including an auditorium and broadcasting studios.

Centrepiece is part of a multi-year A$972 million (US$692m) redevelopment at Melbourne Park which includes a new 5,000-seat show court tennis arena.

“Not only does our new venue have the flexibility to adapt for sophisticated corporate functions, conferences and gala dinners, it will also offer ‘money can’t buy’ experiences, where guests can enjoy the precinct’s outdoor tennis facilities used for the Australian Open (AO) Grand Slam,” Burnes added.

Level one at Centrepiece is a new public café and restaurant available to be hired exclusively for events or to be used for social events hosted in conjunction with a conference.

Level two, adjacent to Rod Laver Arena and the new show court, is Centrepiece’s main ballroom, with pre-function space and an outdoor terrace with views of the Melbourne CBD.

Level three houses breakout rooms designed for the international media for the Australian Open Tennis. There are 10 studios that can seat between 10-100 guests, a raked-floor auditorium seating up to 250 people and an additional five meeting rooms.

A key feature of Centrepiece will be its Paddock to Plate philosophy, in which kitchen and culinary teams produce dishes using locally sourced and seasonal produce, complemented with Victorian wines, locally-brewed beers, small batch spirits and premium Melbourne-based coffee roasters.

“International travel may be off the cards right now, but we are so excited to open our doors to our Asia Pacific neighbours, with Centrepiece at Melbourne Park now booking for late 2021 and beyond,” said Burnes.