Curtin University is building a $300 million mini-city, with on-campus 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 Vice-Chancellor Deborah Terry, who shied away from the term “mini-city”, 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 on-campus 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 atCurtin University.
InfraRed Capital Partners’ chief executive Werner von Guionneau said it would enhance the learning experience for students for decades.