Carlton Connect Initiative Approved - construction to begin mid-year

Carlton Connect Initiative Approved - construction to begin mid-year
Laurence DragomirApril 6, 2018

On Friday April 6th, Minister for Planning Richard Wynne approved an amendment to the Melbourne Planning Scheme, allowing construction to commence on Carlton Connect - a major University of Melbourne project being developed in partnership with Lendlease at the site of the old Royal Women’s Hospital in Carlton. 

The recent approval follows on from the University of Melbourne announcing a partnership with a consortium led by Lendlease in November 2017, to develop a new innovation precinct on the former site of the Royal Women’s Hospital, located at the corner of Swanston and Grattan streets in Carlton.

The precinct will be located adjacent to the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus, which hosts some of the world’s top researchers and forms part of the Parkville National Employment and Innovation Cluster that will be serviced by the future Parkville Station as part of the Metro Tunnel Project.   

National Employment and Innovation Clusters are a key feature of Plan Melbourne with the clusters located across Melbourne, in an effort to drive down congestion and ensure people spend less time commuting.

Carlton Connect will create more than 3,000 direct jobs and more than 5,000 indirect jobs within close proximity to the Melbourne CBD, providing the tools, platforms and services to create an ecosystem where start-ups emerge and cutting-edge products and services are developed.

The 74,000 sqm precinct will feature a series of connecting buildings arranged around a central and publicly-accessible open space. In addition to co-working and commercial office space, the precinct will feature a Fab Lab, student accommodation and a ‘Superfloor’ dedicated to collaboration and fostering the exchange of ideas.

It will also provide shops, cafes, public spaces, accommodation for more than 500 students and visiting academics, a childcare centre and Science Gallery Melbourne, which will deliver cutting-edge exhibitions, events and experiences.

Carlton Connect Initiative Approved - construction to begin mid-year
The new Science Gallery Melbourne will be located on the corner of Grattan and Swanston Street. Image : University of Melbourne

Project partner Lendlease's ambitions for the development are to regenerate the former Royal Women’s Hospital site into an open, light and modern precinct, delivering a bold new architectural statement.

The consortium delivering the innovation precinct in partnership with the University of Melbourne comprises Lendlease as developer, builder, co-investor and investment manager of the commercial space; GIC as major co-investor of the commercial space; Spotless as the facilities manager; and Urbanest as investor and manager of the student accommodation.

Early works on site commenced on November 21, 2017 with hoardings installed around the perimeter of the building site. With planning approval in hand, construction is expected to commence in mid-2018 with a 2020 completion anticipated.


 This project ticks all the boxes. It’s making good use of a flagship site, it’s driving our reputation as a world leader for education and innovation, it’s creating thousands of jobs and will contribute billions to our economy.

- Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning

This development will set a new benchmark in education and industry collaboration in a purpose-built facility that meets the highest standards of design and sustainability, while also honouring the site’s heritage and history.”

- Mark Menhinnitt, Managing Director for Lendlease Urban Regeneration

Innovation emerges from vibrant and collaborative environments where people are encouraged to share skills and ideas as they work and socialise together, and we hope the mix of people and ideas will spark new knowledge and new ways of doing things.

- Dr Julie Wells, University of Melbourne Vice Principal of Policy and Projects

Innovation emerges from vibrant and collaborative environments where people are encouraged to share skills and ideas as they work and socialise together.

-  (Research) Professor Jim McCluskey, University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor


Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

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