Site development updates

Building Australia’s leading innovation precinct, anchored by the University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne is committed to keeping the community informed on the development of the Carlton Connect innovation precinct, located on the site of former Royal Women’s Hospital.

You will find regular updates on this page. For more information and enquiries contact [email protected]


Project overview

The University of Melbourne is transforming the former Royal Women’s Hospital site into a globally recognised innovation precinct.

Innovation precincts are environments where people from different disciplines and different organisations work closely together in a creative and entrepreneurial way. The precinct will tackle major societal challenges, such as food security, changing technologies and urbanisation.

The innovation precinct builds on the achievements of LAB-14, the highly successful prototype which has been operating for the last two-and-a-half years. It will provide a home for technology focused organisations, cutting edge research and next-generation startups that will significantly benefit the Australian economy and society.

In addition, the precinct will include retail, indoor and outdoor public spaces, student accommodation, offices and a childcare centre. Science Gallery Melbourne will also be a signature destination, inviting young learners to creatively explore the collisions between art and science.

In 2016 the University of Melbourne also announced a shortlist of three respondents to its Expression of Interest (EOI) for the development of the next stage of the innovation precinct. The University is currently working through the tender process and will make an announcement on the successful bid in 2017.

The innovation precinct is also part of the University’s vision for our campuses and how they connect our students communities. Through Our Campus in the 21st Century, the University is transforming our campuses through the themes of technology and tradition, synergy and innovation, quality experiences, spaces and places, and a culture of inclusion. You can find out more about this as well as other University infrastructure projects and initiatives on the Our Campus website.

Site development progress

The University commenced remediation and site enabling works, as part of the redevelopment of the former Royal Women’s Hospital site, in April 2015.  Works included internal demolition from the Central (formerly 3AW) Tower, and the demolition of the Rita Harris and Kumm-Stephens buildings that were located on the corner of Grattan and Cardigan Streets. The works, plus other minor enabling works, were completed in late 2016.

Representatives and members of the community were invited to a community information meeting on 3 July 2017 at the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre, where the University provided updates on the next phase in the development of the innovation precinct:

  • The proposed adaptive reuse of the existing Central Tower entailed a height increase to the building, however, the State Government has since put in planning controls that require a lower building height due to medical helicopter flight path purposes. Consultation with infrastructure experts revealed a new master plan for the site that would offer better design outcomes at a lower cost than the adaptive reuse of the Central Tower, which will now be demolished.
  • Early works will be undertaken on site, which are anticipated to commence in the coming months. In the meantime, tenants within LAB-14 have been relocated to various new premises.

More information:

Past site development update