Plans to create Australia's first intergenerational university community has taken a major step forward.
The University of Wollongong has lodged a Development Application to Wollongong City Council seeking approval for a masterplan concept for Phase 1 of the proposed world-class Health and Wellbeing Precinct.
The proposal is for a 3.5-hectare area located at the southern end of the university's Innovation Campus at Fairy Meadow, which is estimated to cost $250 million to build and will deliver more than $600 million in increased economic output to the region during construction.
Announced in 2018, the precinct has been pitched as a ground-breaking concept that combines health research and teaching with patient-centred, multidisciplinary health facilities and independent housing for over 55s.
It has been designed to promote intergenerational living, life-long learning and improve health outcomes for people in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Sutherland Shire.
UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings welcomed this important DA step.
"The Health and Wellbeing Precinct is a truly transformative project that will focus on one of the great challenges of our time: an ageing population, and deliver innovative research and education solutions," Professor Wellings said.
"Submitting the development application for Phase 1 is the first step in the delivery of this world-class, ground-breaking project that has been purposefully designed to promote intergenerational living and life-long learning.
"The development of this Precinct will deliver new jobs and new opportunities for economic development for Wollongong at a time where the city will be working to recover both socially and economically from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is a terrific opportunity to shape the future economy of the city and capitalise on the demographic challenge facing the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and South Coast."
Development partner Lendlease also welcomed the submission of the DA.
"We're excited to be one step closer to realising our vision to provide independent living accommodation for over 55s, where they can reap the benefits of intergenerational living and having the best facilities and research taking place on their doorstep," Lendlease Retirement Village managing director Nathan Cockerill said.
"Social isolation is one of the biggest issues facing older Australians.
"Our residents will have the chance to interact with people of all ages who are visiting the Precinct daily, whether for work, classes, healthcare or childcare or simply to enjoy the new Precinct facilities and spaces.
"They'll also enjoy the benefits of living in an environment that supports a healthy active lifestyle, close to beaches, recreational reserves and cycleways."
When completed in 2024, the precinct will be Australia's first Intergenerational University Community.
The DA lodged shows that phase 1 of the masterplan includes:
- A new large, green open space, situated at the heart of the Precinct and open to the whole community;
- A university operated Primary Community Health Centre combining community health services with a significant focus on teaching and research activities in health-related disciplines;
- An Independent Living Retirement complex operated by Lendlease that will feature quality facilities for residents and approximately 220-240 apartments;
- Residential aged care facility with approximately 120-144 beds;
- Childcare Centre with approximately 80-100 places;
- Community facilities including a wellness centre, café and community hub;
- Neighbourhood retail to service the Precinct;
- Sustainability features such as solar energy and water-sensitive urban design.
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