Artist impression from Wakefield Street
About the project
This bold new venue will be the Capital’s largest built infrastructure investment since the Wellington Regional Stadium two decades ago, offering a powerful combination of facilities across three floors and 18,000 sqm that draw visitors to Wellington to learn, meet and be inspired. The Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre (WCEC) will be the Capital’s first premium event space delivering two key elements to Wellington’s economic infrastructure:
A place to share
The top two floors will deliver the Capital's first premium space to host meetings and conventions with over 10,000sqm of flexible meeting and exhibition space. This will be a space where Wellington can showcase the breadth and depth of expertise and thought leadership on offer in the Capital, hosting events, and building new ones for carefully targeted audiences that fit with Wellington’s Capital City status.
A place to inspire
The ground floor will include a 1,280sqm Exhibition Gallery that will be the largest in NZ. The Gallery will attract locals and visitors to see the global entertaining and inspiring exhibitions that will be on show. Locally developed and curated exhibitions will be premiered here before touring offshore - exhibitions that showcase the creative talents of Wellington and New Zealand.
Wellington has been a successful convention destination for many years but at the same time has been hampered by the lack of high-quality venues. Although the world of mega conferences might look different as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the small to medium-sized events the centre is designed for will remain very relevant, and will meet the needs of the national and Asia-Pacific market.
Benefit to the area
Being built on a Council-owned site on Cable Street, opposite Te Papa Tongarewa and near the waterfront, the centre will be a great addition to this vibrant cultural and entertainment precinct. WCEC offers this part of the city a transformative opportunity. We expect that the increased visitors to the area will encourage private development and enhancement of the surrounding area and the waterfront that will support and strengthen the areas’ economic vitality and associated economic benefits.
The base isolated and sustainable 5-Green Star centre is due to be completed in 2023. It will have huge positive flow-on effects for the City’s hospitality, accommodation and retail businesses and is expected to supply 372 jobs and bring in and protect business worth around $45 million a year in GDP to Wellington's economy.
For further information about the WCEC, its design, how the project is progressing, its facilities, how to book and much more please visit the WCEC website.
Where are we up to
Despite the delay due to Covid-19, the centre remains on track to be completed in early 2023 and is well placed to support the recovery in the business events and domestic tourism which will in turn be a welcome boost for the City.
The project started in December 2019 and the foundation and piling work was completed May 2020. From May 2020 to September 2021 the main structure will be built.
By May 2022 the façade will be in place and the fit-out will happen between October 2021 and Jan 2023.
We’ve been recording the progress of the work being done on the WCEC. You can see the time lapse video here: Time lapse video.
Who are we working with
We are working with Willis Bond and LT McGuinness to deliver the construction phase of the building and are in discussions with Te Papa Tongarewa and WellingtonNZ about the future operations of the centre.
We are also working closely with mana whenua – Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika – to ensure that Māori culture and values are an integral part of the project; from design to build through to the way we describe and brand the building to how we embed this in our operations and welcome our national and international visitors and guests.
The convention centre is one of the Council's economic stimulus projects and was first proposed in our 2014 Economic Growth Agenda.
The project was part of our Long-term Plan consultations in 2015 and 2018. It is 67 percent funded by the commercial sector and will support 864 construction jobs and 372 jobs from operations.
The project addresses a changing landscape for convention and exhibitions facilities in New Zealand and a lack of suitable modern and fit or purpose facilities in Wellington.
You can read more about the project, the design of the building and the WCEC’s economic contribution to the City here:
Wellington Convention and Events Centre business case (2.3MB PDF)
Councillors approved the WCEC project at the 13 December 2018 City Strategy Committee. You can see what went to the Council for approval here:
Addendum Agenda of City Strategy Committee – 13 December 2018 (15MB PDF)