Australia approves development of leading innovation precinct co-invested by Singapore's GIC
The University of Melbourne announced that the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has approved the planning of Australia’s leading innovation precinct.
In 2012, the University of Melbourne purchased the former Royal Women’s Hospital site and in 2017 announced a partnership with a consortium led by Lendlease to redevelop it.
The partnership will oversee the redevelopment of the former Royal Women’s Hospital site, with the Lendlease consortium designing, constructing and maintaining the site for 42 years. Early works commenced in November 2017 and construction is expected to commence in mid-2018 for completion in 2020.
The consortium delivering the innovation precinct in partnership with the University of Melbourne comprises Lendlease as developer, builder, co-investor and investment manager of the commercial space; Spotless as the facilities manager; and Urbanest as investor and manager of the student accommodation.
Singapore’s GIC is a major co-investor of the commercial space in this educational and commercial project. According to a press release issued by GIC last November, Chief Investment Officer of GIC Real Estate Mr Lee Kok Sun said the project is “an attractive opportunity to invest in a unique educational and commercial hybrid project which is in line with the global emerging trend of innovation hubs being situated around universities”.
“We believe the new innovation precinct will generate resilient cash-flows over the long term and look forward to strengthening our partnership with Lendlease and the University of Melbourne on this project,” he added.
The new precinct will host researchers, companies, government bodies and community members from different backgrounds and disciplines who will work together to develop innovative solutions to society’s biggest challenges.
The 74,000 sqm precinct will feature a series of connecting buildings arranged around a central and publicly-accessible open space. In addition to co-working and commercial office space, the precinct will feature a Fab Lab, student accommodation and a Superfloor dedicated to collaboration and fostering the exchange of ideas.
The precinct will be ideally located adjacent to the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus, which hosts some of the world’s top researchers, and within close proximity of 1 km to the Melbourne CBD which is accessible via tram and the proposed Melbourne Metro. It will have the tools, platforms and services to create an ecosystem where start-ups emerge, and cutting-edge products and services are developed.
University of Melbourne Vice-Principal Policy and Projects, Dr Julie Wells, said that the precinct will be a place for the local community to live, work and exchange ideas through a vast program of events such as hackathons, workshops, exhibitions and social events.
It will also include shops, cafes, public spaces, accommodation for graduate students and visiting academics, a childcare centre and Science Gallery Melbourne, which will deliver cutting-edge exhibitions, events and experiences.
University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Jim McCluskey said by enhancing research and education, the precinct will support the vision of Melbourne as a Knowledge City and play an important role within the Melbourne Innovation Districts.
“Innovation emerges from vibrant and collaborative environments where people are encouraged to share skills and ideas as they work and socialise together,” Professor McCluskey said.
Lendlease Urban Regeneration Managing Director Mark Menhinnitt said the development will regenerate the former Royal Women’s Hospital site into an open, light and modern precinct, delivering a bold new architectural statement.
“This purpose-built facility will set a new benchmark in education and industry collaboration that meets the highest standards of design and sustainability, while also honouring the site’s heritage and history,” Mr Menhinnitt said.