A SWEEPING glass roof bounded by tropical foliage forms a breathtaking welcome mat to the Cairns Convention Center in new designs for its $176 million upgrade.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt will on Monday unveil the draft concept drawings along with a rider that the plan may change.
The current perspective transforms the existing foyer into a two-story structure with floor-to-ceiling windows, creating an arc extending out to Wharf St and a new 3000sq m exhibition hall.
Cairns Regional Council would relinquish the dead-end of Grafton St, with the glass roof verging on to land currently home to Ports North and parking spaces.
The Cairns Post understands a second option is being investigated due to the port authority’s reluctance to relinquish its property.
Under that plan, the glass roof would shoot northwards, across Harley St and take over the council-owned former post office building on the Grafton St corner.
"We are completely re-imagining the capacity and potential of the Cairns Convention Center as part of the revival of our CBD to ensure it’s a legacy that will benefit our region long into the future," Mr Pitt said.
But there are some space constraints to consider in fitting a new 3000sq m exhibition hall and supporting plenary space into this CBD location, given existing buildings and roads in this area and also the port authority building and fig tree to the east.
"That is why, these concepts provide options to expand to the north or the east with a determination to be made that provides the best benefits for Cairns, the port and the city well into the future."
The State Government set aside $1 million in its 2017-18 budget to develop a business case for the project, with the remaining $175 million to be spent over the following two years.
Cairns Convention Center general manager Ross Steele said the expansion would attract an extra 25 large conventions and events and about 20,000 additional visitors to Cairns per year.