The University of Wollongong is terminating its joint venture agreement to develop the Innovation Campus and is considering selling its jewel, the iC Enterprise 1 building.
The NSW Auditor-General yesterday delivered the news while handing down the findings of a financial audit of the state’s universities.
The university said the termination was by agreement with construction firm Baulderstone and maintained any sale of the enterprise building would not jeopardise the centre’s commitment to research and innovation.
The university entered into the joint venture with Baulderstone in 2004 to develop the sprawling North Wollongong campus over 10 to 15 years. Six buildings, including the iC Central and iC Enterprise 1, have been completed at a total cost of $164 million.
Innovation Campus director David Campbell said yesterday the termination was ‘‘by agreement’’ now that ‘‘core infrastructure is in place’’.
‘‘The bottom line is that the core infrastructure is completed; that was one of the main purposes of the agreement ...now that heavy lifting work has been done.’’
Mr Campbell said Baulderstone remained on site and was constructing the Sustainable Building Research Centre.
Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat said the university had advised it would not incur any penalties for terminating the arrangement.
A Baulderstone spokesman yesterday said the mutual decision followed ‘‘a normal business review’’.
‘‘In addition to delivering six innovative and award-winning projects for the university since 2004, we have ensured that all of the infrastructure is in place for the Innovation Campus to expand its facilities at a future date,’’ the spokesman said.
‘‘We have enjoyed a highly successful and effective partnership with the University which leaves a significant legacy for both students and the region.’’
Yesterday, Mr Achterstraat also revealed the university was undertaking due diligence and seeking a market appraisal to sell the iC Enterprise 1 building.
The 10,000sqm building was completed last year and its tenants include Illawarra Coal,
the Cancer Council NSW and mining equipment maker Joy
Yesterday Mr Campbell said any sale to private enterprise would not hamper the centre’s research focus.
‘‘There are town planning rules for the site to cover those issues,’’ Mr Campbell said.
‘‘The university has funded the construction [of the iC Enterprise] and after a period of due diligence we will go to the market to see if someone wants to invest in that building.