$350m Western Sydney innovation quarter gets green light

$350m Western Sydney innovation quarter gets green light

Property investor Charter Hall (ASX: CHC) and Western Sydney University have received approval to build the $350 million Innovation Quarter (iQ) precinct at Westmead.

Development approval has been granted for stages 1 and 2 of the project, aimed at creating a "visionary hub" for innovation in health, education, research and business.

Practical completion of iQ is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2021.

Comprising two mixed-use towers to be built between between the hospital and Westmead station, iQ will provide 28,000 square metres of space designed to support significant opportunities for collaboration across the public and private sectors.

An additional 2,000 square meters is slated retail space, lifestyle facilities and amenity, including food and beverage, a proposed supermarket, fitness centre, parking and childcare.

Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, says the approval sends a vitally important signal that innovative public-private initiatives are "well placed to navigate the challenging terrain ahead".

"Continued research, educational and commercial investment in Westmead is critical, not just for the success of the precinct, but in driving the COVID-19 mitigation and recovery phases ahead," he says.

"The Westmead collaboration with Charter Hall, is part of a wider program of infrastructure stimulus initiatives the University is pursing with the Group and other public-private partners at Bankstown, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Parramatta and Werrington.

"Western Sydney will bear much of the brunt of the current challenges, and we must equally be prepared to drive recovery. The University and partners like Charter Hall are committed to that task."

Charter Hall's managing director and group CEO, Mr David Harrison, says the development approval and commencement of construction works is an exciting step forward for the project.

"There's never been a more important time to focus on health research and innovation, and this project collaboration with Western Sydney University will deliver critical infrastructure to support this," Harrison says.

"Over 1,000 jobs are also being created by the project, which is vital for Australians and our economy at this time.

"iQ will create a truly visionary precinct that brings together the most forward-thinking research, health education and commercial sectors in the Southern Hemisphere."

The Western Sydney University has committed to an initial 15-year lease term for two of their research institutions, the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development and the Translational Health Research Institute (THRI).

"Our vision is to work with both public sector and industry to make Westmead a sought-after research epicentre," says Charter Hall's head of office development, Andrew Borger.

"We look forward to continuing to partner with leading health and research organisations such as MARCS and THRI for the Innovation Quarter precinct.

Richard Crookes Constructions has been appointed as the construction partner to deliver the Innovation Quarter precinct in partnership with Charter Hall and Western Sydney University.

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