The University of Melbourne has entered into a partnership with a consortium led by Lendleaseto redevelop the former Royal Women’s Hospital site into a A$500 million mixed-use project.

The consortium will design, construct and maintain the site, which will host Australia’s leading innovation precinct, for the next 42 years.

Researchers, companies, government bodies and community members from different backgrounds and disciplines will be co-located in the precinct, which sits within the broader Parkville employment and innovation cluster and includes a strong component of bioscience.

They will work together to develop innovative products and services, particularly associated with changing technologies, sustainability and resilience

The 62,000 square-metre precinct will include office space for start-ups and corporate partners, a ‘superfloor’ collaboration space, the FabLab prototyping facility to test and manufacture new products, accommodation for 528 students and childcare facilities.

The university also wants the precinct to be a place which will contribute to the local community, and where people will gather to live, work and play.

It will also host shops, cafes, public spaces and Science Gallery Melbourne - a ‘living lab’ for young adults, industry partners, artists, scientists and academics.

Through a cutting-edge program of exhibitions and experiences, the gallery will encourage young people to consider careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the creative industries.

The new innovation precinct will build on the successful LAB-14 prototype, which operated for two and a half years and welcomed more than 40,000 visitors to hundreds of events, seminars, exhibitions and meetings.

The consortium also comprises Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC as major co-investor of the commercial space, Spotless as the facilities manager, and Urbanest as investor and manager of the student accommodation.

Early works start this month and, if the project gains planning approval, construction will begin next year for completion in 2020.

The university will occupy about 75 per cent of the commercial space, with about 10,500 square metres on the market for lease.