Construction has begun on a new innovation precinct, Melbourne Connect, on the site of the former Royal Women’s Hospital.
The $425 million project, developed by the University of Melbourne in partnership with a consortium led by Lendlease, will be home to Science Gallery Melbourne and will include student accommodation, co-working and commercial office space, a fabrication laboratory, retail, public spaces and childcare.
A total of 74,000sq m of gross floor area including a 3,260sq m ‘Superfloor’ on the mezzanine level connecting the buildings that make up Melbourne Connect.
The building will play host to pitch nights, hackathons, masterclasses and workshops aiming to provide new opportunities for students to actively engage with government and industry.
The new mixed-use precinct will create more than 3,000 direct jobs and more than 5,000 indirect jobs.
Lendlease managing director of urban regeneration John Burton praised the vision for the transformational project.
“Melbourne Connect brings together university led research, industry and elite thinking in a purpose-built innovation precinct, and demonstrates how the combined expertise of industry and academia can be harnessed to achieve great outcomes.”
The development will see the former Royal Women’s Hospital site in Carlton regenerated into an open, light and contemporary precinct, while “honouring the site’s heritage and history,” Burton said.
“Melbourne Connect brings together university-led research, industry and elite thinking in a purpose-built innovation precinct, and demonstrates how the combined expertise of industry and academia can be harnessed to achieve great outcomes.”
Woods Bagot principal and project architecture lead Hazel Porter said that working with cross-laminated timber demonstrates the aspirational, future-focussed nature of the project.
“CLT stands out for its sustainability, versatility, strength and aesthetic,” Porter said.
“Long championed by Lendlease, its benefits translate to safer working environments, improved quality and faster construction time on site due to prefabrication.”
The five new connecting buildings will be focused around a central "Oculus" and publicly-accessible open space.
Melbourne Connect will open in late 2020, bringing with it more than 3,000 direct jobs and more than 5,000 indirect jobs.