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As we grow, we become increasingly aware of the social and economic impact we have on the communities in which we work and operate, and more conscious of our desire to make a positive contribution.
More than 338,000 people use a Charter Hall property each day, and our people and our partnerships influence many others across a range of journeys in life.
Our recent expansion into the education space is a massive opportunity for us to play a positive role in growing Australia’s knowledge and innovation-based economy, and to make a fundamental contribution to our national intellectual, cultural and social development.
The sector not only educates our future workforce, it drives productivity, develops the leaders of tomorrow, provides over 1 million jobs and facilitates cultural and trade links with other countries.
In the tertiary space, Australia’s universities are experiencing rapid growth and change, and we are helping to deliver a new model of campus to meet their evolving demands.
CBD-based, vertical, digitally enriched campuses are proving very popular with students as they can deliver the most modern and technologically advanced facilities available, while at the same time providing easy access to cultural amenities, transport, dining, retail facilities and social networks.
With prime urban land at a premium in Australia vertical campuses are an attractive option for universities too, with several recently completed and more currently in planning.
In 2017, we delivered the University of Western Sydney’s acclaimed 15-storey 1 Parramatta Square (1PSQ) campus in the heart of the Parramatta CBD. Recent additions by other players in this space include the Navitas campus in the Sydney CBD, and the University of Newcastle’s NeW Space building.
Looking ahead, Victoria University is planning a 32-storey campus in the heart of Melbourne, and we are currently partnering with the University of Western Sydney and the University of New South Wales to deliver a new 15-storey, 28,500 sqm vertical engineering innovation hub in the Parramatta CBD, to be completed by 2021.
1PSQ is a prime example of a truly 21st century university campus. It fosters innovation, interaction and discovery by replacing traditional lecture theatres with smaller, more informal learning spaces equipped with technologies such as screen sharing and video conferencing, and collaborative learning studios spread across six floors.
With high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the building, these interactive spaces use the 'flipped classroom' model of group-based learning, and include an extensive range of digital features such as writable walls, computers on wheels, high-tech cameras and interactive touchscreens to allow students to share and compare work around the classroom.
More than 550 digital screens and information panels are located throughout the campus, including a spectacular 7.5 metre x 1.5 metre curved LED information display which can be viewed from any vantage point in the lobby.
Digital wayfinding stations guide people around the building and provide real-time information on campus shuttles and other public transport information.
The building also houses PwC, Australia's largest professional services firm, and government agency WaterNSW, thus connecting students with business, government and industry and creating opportunities for work-integrated learning and research collaborations.
Feedback from USW staff and students at 1PSQ has been overwhelmingly positive and the university is very proud of its state-of-the-art flagship campus, says vice-chancellor Professor Barney Glover:
“It is the most technologically advanced building in an Australian university, and I think it even stands out internationally,’’
“We have infused tech right through this building, and flipped classrooms are an innovation that we are very, very pleased to have brought to Parramatta ahead of many other unis in Australia.’’
Students at the campus have been similarly enthusiastic.
“The tech in this building it really great because it allows us students to have a really collaborative environment in classrooms, especially the screen-share options we have,’’ says WSU Odell En Luong.
“What I really like about this campus is the collaborative spaces that it provides, they give us the opportunity to book our own rooms to work on assignments with group members, and it also has some really quiet environments that no other campus provides with all the study booths.’’
"Every level has spaces for you to study, whether that be by yourself or with a group of people,’’ says student Allyssa Khonpongly. “It really motivates me to want to be at uni and to study.’’
The education sector will continue to offer significant opportunities of property investors says Nick Anagnostou, our Head of Social Infrastructure Funds, who joined us last year through our expansion into the early learning space with the acquisition of funds manager Folkestone.
“With demographic and social changes, demand for better-quality facilities and government budget constraints, there is increasing scope for private-sector participation across the entire education spectrum,’’ says Nick.
“We are examining a number of possibilities as we look at further investment opportunities in this sector.’’