The University of Melbourne has entered into a partnership with a consortium led by Lendlease to develop Australia’s leading innovation precinct.
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.
University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Jim McCluskey said: “The site will host Australia’s leading innovation precinct where great minds collide to turn big ideas into pioneering solutions to today’s societal challenges.
“Researchers, companies, government bodies and community members from different backgrounds and disciplines will be co-located in the precinct and work together to develop innovative products and services, particularly associated with changing technologies, sustainability and resilience.”
Responding to the highest standards of design and sustainability, the precinct will include office space for start-ups and corporate partners, a ‘superfloor’ collaboration space, the FabLab prototyping facility to test and manufacture new products, student accommodation and childcare.
The University also intends for the precinct to be a place which will contribute to the local community, and where people will gather to live, work and play. It will also host shops, cafes, public spaces and Science Gallery Melbourne.
Part of an international network of galleries world-wide, Science Gallery Melbourne is a ‘living lab’ for young adults, industry partners, artists, scientists and academics.
Through a cutting-edge program of exhibitions and experiences, the gallery will encourage young people to consider careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the creative industries.
The new innovation precinct will build on the successful LAB-14 prototype, which operated for two and a half years and welcomed more than 40 000 visitors to hundreds of events, seminars, exhibitions and meetings.
University of Melbourne Vice-Principal Policy and Projects Julie Wells said that the project reflects the University’s approach to campus and precinct development.
“We want our campus to be open to the community, and to provide space for engagement and collaboration. This precinct will complement the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct in Parkville, the Arts Precinct in Southbank and is part of the emerging Melbourne Innovation District”, Dr Wells said.
The consortium was selected following a robust evaluation process and is led by Lendlease as developer, builder, co-investor and investment manager of the commercial space.
The consortium also comprises GIC as major co-investor of the commercial space, Spotless as the facilities manager, and Urbanest as investor and manager of the student accommodation.
The partnership ensures that the University will be actively engaged in all stages of the project – from design to construction and operation – to ensure that the vision and objectives of the precinct are brought to life.
Early works will commence in November 2017, and, subject to approvals, construction will begin in 2018 for completion in 2020.