In a major win for the revitalisation of the Newcastle city centre and the Hunter region, NSW Premier Mike Baird and University of Newcastle’s (UON) Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen today announced an historic deal that expands the university’s inner-city presence.
Under the agreement, UON has secured two hectares of land at Honeysuckle and the adjoining former heavy rail corridor and will now work to expand its world-class educational, research and industry engagement facilities on these sites.
“This agreement is a game-changer for the Hunter. Not only will it significantly enhance Newcastle’s CBD, it will greatly contribute to the massive construction jobs boom in the city centre,” Mr Baird said.
“The NSW Government is investing more than $500 million into revitalising Newcastle with a brand new light rail system that will have two stops within close proximity to the new site, as well as the NeW Space campus and new Innovation Hub.
“We are committed to transforming Newcastle, which will encourage people to live, stay, work and play in this amazing city.”
Over the next 12 months, UON will develop a high level master plan for the development of the sites, which will consider options including next generation teaching and learning facilities, campus support services, student accommodation and publicly accessible zones for community engagement.
Professor McMillen said that the acquisition of the Honeysuckle site represented a significant opportunity to position Newcastle as a destination of choice for students and a hub for new industries and job creation.
“As a top 250 world university and a major employer in the Hunter region, UON is committed to working with the NSW Government and other partners to drive the city’s transition to a knowledge economy that acts as a magnet for jobs, industry and talent,” Professor McMillen said.
“UON is delighted to partner with the NSW Government on this exciting next stage of Newcastle’s transformation. With our landmark NeW Space facility set to open in 2017, this agreement builds opportunities for an integrated city precinct that could double the number of students in the Newcastle CBD and leverages UON’s strengths to stimulate economic and social change in our region.”
Subject to the finalisation of business cases and development approvals, construction could commence on site from late 2018.