With ambitious aspirations to transform Melbourne’s north, La Trobe University has agreed to partner with developer Plenary to build its $5 billion University City of the Future Plan project.
Refreshing original plans to revive the university's 235-hectare Bundoora campus, the project is expected to create more than 20,000 new jobs and include education facilities for 40,000-plus students, as well as generating 3,000 jobs per annum in construction.
Planners forecast the development will bring in $3.5 billion to the local economy over 10 years.
The master development partner agreement rekindles the university's relationship with Plenary, which delivered La Trobe’s $288 million AgriBio, Centre for AgriBioscience development in 2013.
“Plenary is a highly reputable global company that is aligned with the University on environmental sustainability and providing long-term social and economic benefit to communities,” La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said.
“We’re excited to be partnering with the Plenary team to accelerate this ambitious plan, bringing innumerable benefits to our staff and students, as well as industry, partners and the wider community.”
The new campus will feature a world-class sports park as the new home of the Australian women’s national soccer team, the Matildas. The elite sports venue will be open for teaching, research, and community participation.
The campus will also include 624 new modern and sustainable student apartments, a health and wellbeing hub, new commercial and retail developments, and a research and innovation precinct.
La Trobe director of property and economic development, Mary Lacson, said the partnership would support a truly innovative project to revolutionise how universities provide education and research while building a stronger, more resilient society.
“Our main goal is to develop a multi-purpose, sustainable and mixed-use community – and position La Trobe as a pioneering and transformative University and the partner of choice for industry and academia,” she added.
La Trobe hopes the development, which includes a commitment to enhancing and protecting La Trobe’s biodiverse waterway Nangak Tamboree, will set it on a path of renewal, delivering revenue, social and economic growth for the University and the wider community.
With plans to work with and be inclusive of the local community, the development will house the La Trobe National Employment and Innovation Cluster (NEIC), supporting the creation of long-term jobs and driving economic growth and innovation.
Melbourne-headquartered Plenary is a leading independent long-term investor, developer and manager of public infrastructure.
With offices in Australia, Canada and the US, the public-private partnership specialist has more than 74 assets under management worth more in excess of $46 billion.
In Victoria, its property portfolio includes the $1.75 billion Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and South Wharf precinct, and the $1.5 billion new Footscray Hospital.
“This project will redefine how university precincts in Australia and abroad are designed, developed and delivered,” Plenary CEO David Lamming said.
“It will help to cement La Trobe as a global university of choice for students and staff, increase engagement with government, industry and the community, and showcase it as a sustainability exemplar.
“Our experience in the formation of long-term partnerships to deliver complex projects here and overseas make us ideally placed to perform the role of development partner, and we look forward to delivering on the exciting vision for the University City of the Future.”
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