GIC has committed to a majority stake in a urban redevelopment project involving the University of Melbourne that will cost an estimated AUD425m (€274m) to develop.

The Singapore sovereign wealth fund is part of a consortium led by Lendlease. Other participants include Urbannest, a student housing operator, and Spotlight, a facility management group.

The consortium today announced that it had won the rights to develop an innovation precinct in Carlton, an inner city suburb, where the Melbourne University is based.

Mark Menhinnitt, managing director of Lendlease Urban Regeneration, said Lendlease will be developer, builder, co-investor and investment manager of the commercial space.

GIC will be the major co-investor of the commercial space, Spotless the facilities manager, and Urbanest the investor and manager of student accommodation on-site.

“This is a significant partnership for Lendlease and the University of Melbourne in a project that will set a new benchmark for education and industry collaboration in a purpose-built precinct,” said Menhinnitt.

Lee Kok Sun, chief investment officer, GIC Real Estate, said the project offers “an attractive opportunity” to invest in a unique educational and commercial hybrid project which is in line with the global emerging trend of situating innovation hubs around universities.

“We believe the new innovation precinct will generate resilient cash-flows over the long term, and look forward to strengthening our partnership with Lendlease and the University of Melbourne on this project,” he said.

University of Melbourne Vice-Principal, Policy and Projects, Julie Wells, said the partnership ensures that the University will be actively engaged in all stages of the project – from design to construction and operation – to ensure that the vision and objectives of the precinct are brought to life.

Wells said the partnership will oversee redevelopment of the former Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital site, with the Lendlease consortium designing, constructing and maintaining the site for 42 years.

A Leadlease spokesperson told IPE Real Assets that the plan includes development of a 528-bed student housing complex, to be managed by Urbanest.

The spokesperson said that, subject to planning approval, there will be about 40,000sqm of net lettable area. This will include commercial, retail, childcare and collaboration space, and the Science Gallery, Melbourne.

She said the University will occupy 75% of the non-student accommodation space, and about 10,500sqm of commercial space will be available for lease to the market.

Jim McCluskey, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Melbourne, said: “Researchers, companies, government bodies and community members from different backgrounds and disciplines will be co-located in the precinct.”

He said that the concept is that these groups will work together to develop innovative products and services, particularly those associated with changing technologies, sustainability and resilience.

Early works will begin this month, and, subject to approvals, construction will begin in 2018 for completion in 2020. The consortium expects financial close to be reached in early 2018.