Now one of the first major private developments has been announced – a multi-storey $250 million project known as Cunningham Place, featuring a 168-room luxury hotel and a 6,000m2 conference centre with a 650-seat auditorium.
The development in the heart of the Geelong CBD occupies a whole city block and has four street frontages.
Cunningham Place will be within easy walking distance of the government-funded $294 million Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCEC), which will have its own 200-room upscale hotel, alongside a 1,000-seat plenary space and 3,000m2 of multi-purpose event space. GCEC is due to open by 2026, with archaeological investigation work currently underway, involving the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, to look for further Indigenous and post-colonial artefacts.
Amber Property Group is leading the Cunningham Place development with a church group that currently occupies the site. An architect’s render of the project shows a glass tower atop a six-storey lower building in red brick tones that appears to pay homage to the historical wool warehouses, some of which still stand in the waterfront precinct near the city’s Cunningham Pier.
The property will include restaurants, retail and residential apartments and the design features various areas of open space as it steps up to rise to about 18 storeys, including two levels of penthouse overlooking Corio Bay.
A recent newsletter from Business Events Geelong highlighted the proposed hotel. It quoted Amber Property Group directors Jevan Clay and Geoff and Rachael Brady as saying they want to create a place that fits seamlessly into the historical character of the area and Geelong’s iconic and much-loved waterfront precinct.
“We envisage Cunningham Place to be a world class business hub by day, transforming to a world‐class leisure destination in the evening,” said Clay.
While the proposed tower might push planning rules in regard to height limits in the Geelong CBD, it is understood the state government is keen to see major hotel developments in the city in time for the Commonwealth Games and may use its power to “fast track” projects that meet this need.