Uni land sale closer

EDITH Cowan University has moved a step closer to realising an estimated $40 million windfall, with the Western Australian Government’s release of proposed amendments to the metropolitan region scheme.

The amendments to change the zoning of the Churchlands campus from public purpose-university reservation to urban paves the way for the university to redevelop the land for residential use.

The redevelopment will increase the number of homes in the suburb by around 25 per cent.

The land redevelopment and subsequent sale is expected to go some way to pay for the $51 million building at Edith Cowan’s Joondalup campus.

Under the concept plan, around 240 residential blocks will be created on the 20-hectare site. In addition a childcare centre is planned while there is also provision for the retention of ECU’s library and nursing buildings for use in a retirement village or nursing home, if there is sufficient interest from potential operators. About 13 per cent of the site has been reserved for public open space.

With ministerial approval, the Department of Planning and Infrastructure is running a three-month public comment period on the proposal.

The City of Stirling’s planning committee is also considering the proposal in light of its town planning scheme.

The sale process was instigated in December 2001, when the Government approved a five-year consolidation plan for the university, which was operating campuses at Mount Lawley, Joondalup, Bunbury and Churchlands.

The amendments and changes to the town planning scheme are expected to be in place by the end of 2004.

Once approval has been granted, the first area to be redeveloped will be the south west corner near the junction of Empire Avenue and Cromarty Road.

While the university’s final exit is not scheduled until 2007, around 400 staff have already been relocated with the remainder to be transferred over the next four years.

Situated just eight kilometres from the Perth CBD, Churchlands already has about 900 houses.

Figures from the Real Estate Institute of WA show that in the March quarter the median house price was $506,190, well above the Perth median price of $202,600 and up more than five per cent over the past 12 months.

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