Property investor ISPT has officially opened its landmark $385 million education facility in the heart of Melbourne, allowing Victoria University's (VU) students and faculty to take advantage of the new 32-storey VU City Tower.
Situated at 370 Little Lonsdale Street, the project signifies ISPT’s foray into the education sector and is a key addition to the company’s development portfolio as it seeks out future opportunities for expansion across a range of industries.
Victoria University vice-chancellor and president Adam Shoemaker says the VU City Tower is a "physical realisation” of the school’s ambitious vision to be a global leader in dual sector education and research.
“No room is the same and lecture theatres are [a] thing of the past. But they do have one thing in common: a student-centred focus that inspires brilliance,” he added.
“Carefully designed, purpose-built spaces maximise the VU Block Model in the best way possible and public-facing practice clinics provide invaluable experiences.”
The 5-star green star-rated building was designed by Melbourne-based Jackson Architecture and offers both vocational and higher education courses on campus.
VU City Tower comprises 46 smaller purpose-built classrooms, in addition to specialist learning and clinic spaces to support practical delivery modes.
The building – which had its interiors managed by Adelaide-based architecture studio Woods Baggot – also features a student hub on level 10.
While the construction industry faced significant shutdowns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was delivered on time and “well under budget”, allowing it to open up to students on 26 April 2022.
“Designed as a reimagined campus of the future, the building represents the forward-thinking aspirations and vision of the University, and we are looking forward to welcoming teachers and students to bring the precinct to life,” ISPT senior development manager Jason Lourensz said.
“The vertical campus showcases our skills in the significant and growing education sector, and our ability to transfer our knowledge to a broad range of industries as we grow our portfolio across new sectors.
“The education sector is critical to the economy and this project diversifies our exposure and that of our investors to this key sector, while ISPT seeks opportunities for future growth across the education and health industries to further expand the portfolio, leveraging the existing skills and expertise within the business.”
Adjacent to the new VU City Tower is 295 Queen Street, which is a heritage-listed site that has been retained and developed into the university’s law campus.
Four years ago, ISPT also acquired neighbouring heritage listed Land Titles Office at 283 Queen Street, where it plans to create a commercial mixed-use development that will further enhance the precinct and “revitalise” an “iconic part of the city”.
The site was bought from VU, who signed on as a sole tenant partner under a 30-year lease agreement.
“The three ISPT-owned properties within this locality represent a prime example of ISPT’s approach to precinct placemaking, as we focus on creating a destination that enriches, excites and energises through an eco-system of purposeful partnerships,” ISPT partnership specialist Letitia Hope said.
“We have been thrilled to work alongside VU to develop a forward-thinking building that has been designed for a new style of learning, meeting the current and future needs of staff and students as the requirements of education facilities evolve.”
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