16/04/2008 - 22:00

Curtin behind Bentley development

16/04/2008 - 22:00

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Recent construction projects at Western Australia’s public universities have focused heavily on research, teaching and student facilities, but a new development at Curtin University of Technology will be radically different.

Curtin behind Bentley development

Recent construction projects at Western Australia’s public universities have focused heavily on research, teaching and student facilities, but a new development at Curtin University of Technology will be radically different.

In pushing the large-scale development of the Bentley Technology Precinct, which encompasses the existing Technology Park, the state government is planning a significant residential and commercial development to bring more people to the area.

The high-street development will move several hundred metres of Hayman Road further to the north, allowing development east of Kent Street along the Curtin fringe and on its land, currently grass, sand and sparse pine forest.

At least one developer, Nedlands-based Benchmark Properties, has property situated to take advantage of the plan, which appears to be on the fast-track list following years of deliberation.

The state government is talking about turning the stretch of road into a hub of activity, with residential development bringing people and commercial-retail providing the place for activity, having devoted about $8 million to fund the realignment of the road and other needs.

It wants the high street developed as a catalyst to further development within the precinct.

From Curtin’s point of view, the project will mesh its territory with that of the technology precinct, which is planned to expand seven-fold over the next few decades. The high street development on Hayman Road will also provide a focal point for its own students.

A hotel is also considered likely for the area, another boost for the university.

Curtin executive director of property Stephen Harvey said the university enthusiastically endorsed the plan.

Mr Harvey said the objective would be to create a lively area for those at the university and technology precinct to use.

“The emphasis will be on residential, a bit like East Perth,” he said.

Curtin, like other universities has a significant building program under way, including a $101 million resources project and a chemistry precinct project, which will house the institution’s applied chemistry department and the state’s chemistry centre.

The university is also currently constructing a $22 million recreation and events centre on its western edge.

The University of WA is also heavily engaged in construction projects, constructing a new business school and physical sciences buildings.

UWA has also committed $50 million to the expansion of the WA Institute of Medical Research facilities located at the nearby Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre in Nedlands, and is looking to build a $30 million museum to house the Berndt collection of indigenous artefacts.

Murdoch University has a $19.5 million institute of immunology and infectious diseases under construction. That is proposed to be part of a much bigger project worth around $64 million.

It will be connected by a $10 million road, called Discovery Drive, which will be built through the middle of the campus, connecting Murdoch Drive and the Fiona Stanley Hospital to a new multi-million dollar biotechnology precinct.

The biotechnology precinct is intended to open up its campus to industry and government tenants, and provide access to the hospital.
New buildings for the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, which is relocating from its Bentley site, are also proposed.

DAFWA, which is close to finalising a ground lease with Murdoch, will move its headquarters on campus, and build a new biosecurity centre.

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