$750m biomedical hub planned for Melbourne CBD fringe

$750m biomedical hub planned for Melbourne CBD fringe

10 May 2019

Private developers PDG have committed to a $750 million biomedical and educational hub at the north end of Melbourne’s Elizabeth Street, just outside the CBD and close to the hospital and university precinct in Parkville, the AFR reports.

The ambitious scheme has been put together across an entire block stretching from Queensberry Street to the Haymarket intersection, which is effectively the city’s northern gateway.

The new education and health precinct will span two major current land holdings: the heritage-listed Melford Motors building, formerly a Toyota dealership, and the Bob Jane T-mart site at 683-699 Elizabeth Street, on Melbourne’s northern CBD fringe.

PDG bought the Toyota site two years ago after the Japanese car-maker sought to realise the value of their inner-city dealership sites and move further afield.

Known as the Elizabeth North project, located on Melbourne’s city fringe, it will comprise three towers offering approximately 70,000 square metres of commercial buildings.

The proposed development is designed to work in with the rapidly evolving health and research zone in nearby Parkville, which includes the University of Melbourne, research facilities and major hospitals.

The University of Melbourne’s Trinity College has committed to a new 10-year lease in the proposed precinct.

Trinity has taken a 10-year lease in the 70,000 square metres redevelopment project, Elizabeth North, to be built on the Melford Motors site.

“Achieving this significant milestone is in line with PDG’s strategic vision for Elizabeth North, as well as the State’s planning framework, which is to target a range of educational, research and medical uses in creating an internationally renowned knowledge district in this part of Melbourne,” PDG development director Sebastian Mahoney told The Urban Developer

“Given its proximity to the biomedical precinct, we thought it would be sensible to do something which would enhance and provide opportunity for people in that industry to be located near to the infrastructure the government is spending a lot of money on,” he added.

Mr Mahoney said the final pre-commitments for stage one is now 100 per cent leased with construction slated to kick off in the coming months.

The proposal is part of a broader shift within the Melbourne CBD market where a slew of towering residential apartment proposals have given way to projects with a commercial focus instead.

Before PDG took over the site, Toyota was in advanced planning for a four-tower development, comprising 310 apartments, 698 student units, a gym and 5,200 square metres of commercial space.

After gaining control of the site, PDG has changed direction, lodging plans for a 19-storey tower that includes more than 20,000 square metres set aside for a medical research and development centre along with more than 14,000 square metres of office space and a retail component.

The Elizabeth North precinct is undergoing a flurry of development already. PDG itself has developed an apartment tower in the area, while last month student accommodation player Scape pounced on a site nearby where it plans to create a post-graduate accommodation facility.