Boom in Health and Sciences Sector Investment Puts Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct in the Spotlight

NEWS - 28 Nov 2022

Property investment in the health and sciences sector is booming, with space at the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct (GCHKP) experiencing significant demand to cater to the specialised needs of the industry. The Queensland Government’s 9.5 hectare Lumina development is front and centre as the last available development space in a precinct focused on healthcare innovation, new knowledge and next generation technologies.

Investment opportunities within this sector are further enhanced when these properties are located within a community of expertise and infrastructure – as is the case at the GCHKP, Asia-Pacific’s emerging health and innovation hub. Lumina is within the heart of the GCHKP and is dedicated to diversifying the Gold Coast economy and creating knowledge jobs of the future.

GCHKP is already a hotspot for AI, biotechnology, and drug and vaccine development  

The GCHKP location offers a unique opportunity for its occupants to create collaborations between the hospital and healthcare community, researchers, and industry partners. It is fast becoming a prime location for biotechnology development, clinical trials, and entrepreneurial HealthTech start-ups.

Hotspot areas of investment within the GCHKP include Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotics, biotechnology (drug and vaccine development), medical imaging, wearable technologies and diagnostics, health software, and integrated healthcare and medical technology.

There is a pipeline of drug, vaccine, diagnostic and other technologies available for partnering across the Precinct’s world-class research institutes including Griffith University and the Institute for Glycomics. Several technology applications are already partnered with, including into human clinical trials. Most recently, in August this year, the ACRF International Centre for Cancer Glycomics officially opened a state-of-the-art facility for cancer research – the first of its kind in Australia.

Global leader in healthcare technology, Philips, partners in a new GCHKP collaboration

International life sciences and technology leaders are already seeing the opportunity at Lumina. One of the world leaders in health technology, Philips, announced in August their partnership in establishing a cutting-edge research and medical training centre within Lumina. Philips’ latest image-guided therapy technology will support training specialist physicians from across the Asia-Pacific and pioneer new precision approaches in a wide range of clinical areas.

Led by interventional neuroradiologists Dr. Hal Rice and Dr. Laetitia de Villiers, from the Gold Coast University Hospital, the facility will showcase Philips’ interventional solutions and trial new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and novel 3D printed anatomical models.

The next wave of development and leasing opportunities is growing in key industries

The boom in investment witnessed in the healthcare and life sciences sector has seen increased demand for a vast range of existing and upcoming leasing opportunities within the GCHKP. Hotspot areas of leasing opportunities are being seen in the following high-growth areas:

1.Children’s Care and Specialised Services

Annual sales volume within childcare properties has been booming over the last few years, and property investment trend reports from Real Capital Analytics (RCA) show consecutive ‘record growth years’ since 2018.

It is estimated that there are more than 80,000 children (0-9 years old) currently living on the Gold Coast, with 34 percent forecasted growth by 2041 – but over 60% of that is expected to occur within the northern portion of the Gold Coast. Not only does this open an excellent opportunity for growth in childcare in this northern region – as the GCHKP is the main centre for healthcare, but there will also be a significant opportunity for organisations providing services for children’s health and care needs.

Soon to open is Proxima, a development focussed on those services and care for children. It will offer a hybrid of childcare and paediatric health services and includes available space for medical, allied health, development support, education, and paediatric research organisations.

Leasing opportunities are being committed now for childcare organisations as well as organisations that support paediatric health care, education, and research.

2. Specialised Research and Development (R&D), and Life Sciences

While there is strong demand for life sciences properties, the most robust demand is for more specialised facilities such as research and development and laboratory spaces, according to the property research firm, JLL. However, competition for those spaces is fierce – with international interest and significant challenges in finding the required spaces.

Life sciences organisations, researchers, and entrepreneurs looking to conduct specialised research and development are already taking up the world-class options within Lumina, including scientific laboratories at Griffith University, and custom-built technical and laboratory spaces within the Queensland Government’s Cohort Innovation Space.

Since Cohort opened in 2019, available space for tenants wanting to join the Cohort community, home to health, medical and technology businesses, innovative thinkers, startups, SMEs, and researchers has been a premium. A recent expansion has made available an additional eight private offices for between three to twelve people

3. Medical Office Spaces

Medical office space is also a strong opportunity, with growth in investment in medical offices outpacing growth in office and mixed retail sectors. With higher yields, longer-term tenants, and perception as a ‘defensive’ asset for portfolios, development demand is outstripping supply around Australia.

For potential tenants considering the lease of medical spaces, ideal positioning is within communities with strong population growth, locations that are near relevant institutions (like public and private hospitals) that are easily accessible by the community.

Lumina is the last opportunity to secure prime development space or to find commercial medical office space for lease, within the GCHKP – containing the Gold Coast’s two major hospitals.

4. Aged Care

The Australian government predicts that 76,000 new residential aged care facilities will be required by 2023-24 due to high demand and unmet need for aged care services. With an ageing population, along with significant government investment committed following the Royal Commission into Aged Care, this is an area of secured growth for developers, investors, and services.

Beyond new aged care facilities, there are opportunities for organisations that provide support services, training, and innovation for the aged care sector – such as allied health and ancillary service providers, hospitality services, and technology-enabled innovators – and for those leasing space or investing in new developments to cater for them.

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