A consortium led by Australian infrastructure investment specialist Plenary and backed by property investor ISPT and super funds HESTA and UniSuper, will develop a new $600 million building for the University of NSW on Sydney’s southern edge to enable collaboration between academics, healthcare practitioners and industry.
Plenary and its three other investment partners will fund the 35,600 square metre UNSW Health Translation Hub, which will directly connect to a new Sydney Children’s Hospital Stage 1 and Minderoo Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre as well as to UNSW’s existing Kensington Campus.
A Plenary-led consortium has won the contract to deliver and operate UNSW’s new Health Translation Hub in Sydney’s Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct. 
It’s the first NSW property project for Plenary, but the company that has traditionally been a developer of infrastructure has a track record in healthcare and life sciences already, through projects such as the $1.1 billion Victoria Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
But it comes as real estate investors the world over are lining up to claim part of the growing market for life sciences, a real estate asset class expected to grow by two-thirds to 2 million square metres-worth over the two decades to 2042 in response to ageing populations in wealthy countries.
“It’s right on strategy around what we’re looking to do within that property sector, in particular that life sciences space, “Plenary chief executive David Lamming told The Australian Financial Review.
“We’re looking to translate the partnering approach we’ve taken to all our infrastructure and property projects over the years.”
The Architectus-designed building already has development consent and construction – Hansen Yuncken is the builder – is due to start next year and complete in 2025, the same year as work on the new Sydney Children’s Hospital building is due to finish.
UNSW has a 99-year lease on the site on the corner of High and Botany Streets in Randwick. The university has committed to a 20-year lease of 65 per cent of the space of the building and Plenary Health will lease out the remaining space.
Experimentation, treatment and learning in one: the hub will physically link the UNSW Kensington campus with a new Sydney Children’s Hospital building. 
The building, which will also have 2500 square metre of north-facing open public space, will contain spaces for clinical trials, research and for industry to collaborate said Niki Douglas, UNSW’s development director.
“It’s not a research building, it’s not an education building, it’s not an office building – it’s a building that brings together those three unique groups in one particular setting,” Ms Douglas said.
“By bringing industry and research together with a clinician who has a real-world problem, you can test and then you can connect and make sure that these new ideas are realised quicker.”
The Plenary consortium beat rival bids led by Charter Hall, Dexus and Canada’s NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT in the last rounds of a tender that drew interest from as many as 20 parties.
The scope for other such projects was “enormous” as other universities were looking at similar developments, Mr Lamming said.
“You’ve got the education institutions who are all looking to remain as pre-eminent as they can,” he said.
“That relationship between innovation and research is crucial to that. The confluence of innovation, research and education coming together is becoming increasingly important. We will see these sorts of projects more and more.”
UNSW Vice-Chancellor and President Attila Brungs said collaborative facilities were needed to discover unmet clinical needs faster, connect real-world health issues more efficiently to researchers and industry partners, and create a hands-on learning opportunity for students.
“No single organisation can solve the complex healthcare challenges facing our communities today,” Prof Brungs said.
“UNSW has a unique opportunity to co-locate with our Randwick Health Campus – an opportunity more than 60 years in the making.”
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