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Australia approves development of leading innovation precinct co-invested by Singapore's GIC

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.

Credit: GIC

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.