The West Australian - - PROPERTY - KIM MACDON­ALD

Curtin Univer­sity is build­ing a $300 mil­lion mini-city, with on­cam­pus apart­ments, dou­ble the num­ber of stu­dent beds, shops and of­fices, as part of the in­no­va­tion Ex­change precinct.

The de­vel­op­ment in­cludes 1000 beds op­er­ated by St Cather­ine’s Col­lege and UniLodge Aus­tralia, a 60-room bou­tique ho­tel op­er­ated by Wal­dorf Aus­tralia Group, and 38 apart­ments — one, two and three-bed­room — which will be leased to staff.

It will also in­clude 3000sqm of com­mer­cial space, and 15 spe­cialty re­tail shops, in­clud­ing a gro­cery store and food and bev­er­age out­lets.

Curtin Univer­sity ViceChan­cel­lor Deb­o­rah Terry, who shied away from the term “minic­ity”, said it was the sin­gle big­gest ad­di­tion to the univer­sity in its his­tory, and was part of a big­ger $500 mil­lion cap­i­tal works pro­gram over five years.

Other works in­clude a $110 mil­lion build­ing for the school of de­sign and the built en­vi­ron­ment, as well as a li­brary up­grade and the re­cent on­cam­pus con­struc­tion of Perth’s sec­ond-big­gest bus ter­mi­nal.

Pro­fes­sor Terry said the univer­sity was fu­ture-proof­ing land on cam­pus for other trans­port op­tions, in line with a master plan from the De­part­ment of Trans­port in 2011 which rec­om­mended a light rail sys­tem from the Univer­sity of WA to Curtin Univer­sity.

Pro­fes­sor Terry said the Ex­change pro­gram rep­re­sented a ma­jor change in the di­rec­tion of uni­ver­si­ties in WA, which have al­ways op­er­ated within clearly de­fined bound­aries.

“If you go to the great univer­sity cities of the world, you can’t re­ally see where the univer­sity be­gins and ends,” she said.

“So it is re­ally about open­ing up our cam­pus to the com­mu­nity,” she said.

Pro­fes­sor Terry said the ho­tel — the first on-cam­pus in WA — would be used by staff and vis­i­tors, in­clud­ing those in WA for con­fer­ences.

The stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion would be in ad­di­tion to the 1150 beds al­ready on site. It was also the first time apart­ments had been built on cam­pus. Pro­fes­sor Terry said the ex­tra ac­com­mo­da­tion recog­nised the need to cater to the vast num­bers of in­ter­na­tional and re­gional stu­dents.

Pri­vate con­sor­tium In­fraRed Cap­i­tal Part­ners has been given a 35-year part­ner­ship to de­sign, build and op­er­ate the Ex­change de­vel­op­ment.

Con­struc­tion will start in Au­gust and the first stage of the Ex­change will open in Jan­uary 2022. It is un­der­stood that a prin­ci­pal con­trac­tor has been awarded but sub­con­trac­tors are yet to vie for work. The new de­vel­op­ment will tar­get 5-Star Green Star De­sign, which in­cludes wa­ter re­cy­cling and en­ergy min­imi­sa­tion ini­tia­tives.

Premier Mark McGowan said the de­vel­op­ment would en­cour­age more in­ter­na­tional stu­dents to study at Curtin Univer­sity.

In­fraRed Cap­i­tal Part­ners’ chief ex­ec­u­tive Werner von Guion­neau said it would en­hance the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents for decades.

The planned halls of res­i­dence at Curtin Univer­sity.

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