At its heart is Australia's version of the esteemed Mayo Clinic in the US - and now the Wollongong-based project is one step closer to reality.
The University of Wollongong and Lendlease have signed contracts for the first stage of the $500 million Health and Wellbeing Precinct - a project that's been labelled a "gamechanger" for health and aged care.
Detailed design work, geotechnical surveys and site preparations will now begin on the 7.5ha precinct at the southern end of the Innovation Campus at Fairy Meadow.
UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Health & Communities), Professor Alison Jones, said the precinct would be centred around the university's 'intoHealth' primary and community health clinic.
"We are extraordinarily excited to move forward with this innovative project which - like the Mayo Clinic - features truly patient-focused primary healthcare," she said.
"Traditional healthcare environments have tended to do things that primarily support the health professionals, but we're flipping that model to put the patient first.
"That will mean that all health practitioners will need to work around the patient, and their family, to get the best results for them. And it goes beyond the GP - it's about engaging a whole range of health professionals with a focus on preventative health and healthy ageing."
As part of the inter-generational focus, the precinct will also house a 126-bed residential aged care facility, 199 independent retirement living unit, 80-place childcare centre and recreation facilities.
Prof Jones said by placing non-surgical health care and aged care facilities within a research and teaching environment, research could readily translate into practice.
"This is a gamechanger for the Illawarra as it allows us to develop and deliver new models of care for public and private patients," she said. "And these can be used to enhance the quality of patient care on a global scale."
UOW Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings said the signing of contracts was an important milestone.
"This project demonstrates the community benefits that can result from close interaction between a major research-intensive university, industry and primary healthcare providers," he said.
"(It's) a transformative project that will focus on one of the great challenges of our time: an ageing population, and deliver novel research and education solutions."
Lendlease's Tony Randello said the residents would benefit from new facilities, the beachside location and the research taking place on their doorstep.
"Social isolation is one of the biggest issues facing older Australians," he said. "Our residents will have the ability to interact with people of all ages that will visit the precinct daily for classes, healthcare or childcare, in addition to the (UOW) students."
The precinct is expected to be operational between 2022 and 2023, subject to appropriate planning approvals.