Planning approved for innovation precinct

The University of Melbourne and its partners have received planning approval from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) for the development of a new innovation precinct.

The University of Melbourne purchased the former Royal Women’s Hospital site in 2012 and announced in 2017 a partnership with a consortium led by Lendlease to redevelop it.

Early works begun in November 2017 and construction is expected to begin in mid-2018 for completion in 2020.

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.

University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor, 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,” Mr McCluskey said.

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 to the Melbourne CBD.

It will have the tools, platforms and services to create an ecosystem where startups emerge and cutting-edge products and services are developed.

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.

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.

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. 

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