Local jobs ‘first’ in GAC upgrade

Geelong Arts Centre's Little Malop Street building is set for a $128 million upgrade.

By Luke Voogt

A $128 million redevelopment of Geelong Arts Centre is set to put local jobs “first”, according to the newly-appointed managing contractor for the project.

State government this week announced the appointment of Australian-based multinational property company Lendlease to deliver the Little Malop Street redevelopment.

The company’s general manager Bill Alexandrakis on Tuesday committed to a “Geelong first” approach for the project.

“We will bring a breadth of opportunity for Geelong’s local suppliers and trades,” he said.

“Our Geelong first commitment will ensure that both local suppliers and tradespeople are invited to tender on works packages throughout construction, bringing an economic boost to the city.”

Lendlease also committed to participate in the G21 Region Opportunities for Work (GROW) initiative.

The initiative aims to provide local jobs, particularly for people in “disadvantaged” areas of Geelong and its surrounds.

The project will create an estimated 600 construction jobs, but Lendlease and Geelong Arts Centre have yet to announce what percentage will be local under the “Geelong first” commitment.

“Once we have construction drawings prepared in early 2021, we will be able to provide more precise construction job numbers,” a Geelong Arts Centre spokesperson said.

“[Once complete] we anticipate that the redevelopment will create up to 300 new jobs for the region.”

Lendlease has delivered several major cultural projects across Australia including Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall and Melbourne Recital Centre.

The state-funded Little Malop Street redevelopment will transform the existing building, providing new performance venues, indoor and outdoor areas, dining options, and box office and administration facilities.

Lendlease will now start further development of the design and plans for construction over coming months.

Designed by award-winning Victorian architects ARM, the development will be another “striking addition to Geelong’s cultural landscape”, according to state government.

“This project is a game-changer for the Geelong Arts Centre and the cultural life of our region,” Geelong MP Christine Couzens said.

“More than that, it’s a boon for our economy and for local jobs.”

The project, which state government announced in May 2019, would assist Geelong’s COVID-19 recovery, Bellarine MP Lisa Neville said.

“As we recover and rebuild from the impacts of COVID-19, Geelong Arts Centre’s role will be more important than ever. ”

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