Life Sciences Boom: State-of-the-Art Medical Centre Breaks Ground on the Gold Coast

NEWS - 05 Jun 2023

A significant new life sciences development celebrated its official sod-turning ceremony late last month on the Gold Coast, unveiling exciting opportunities for investors, developers, and occupiers alike. The $154 million research excellence centre, ‘RDX Lumina’, broke ground in the internationally recognised Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct, located within the Queensland State Government’s 9.5-hectare health and knowledge focused commercial cluster ‘Lumina.’

It is the latest in a series of new, state-of-the-art developments rapidly securing land and taking shape in the Precinct dedicated to advancing health, tech, and science-related fields. The current boom in the APAC life sciences industry, the robust Australian health sector, and the high demand for specific space to accommodate medical offices and R&D facilities indicate that remaining sites within Lumina will be quickly secured over the next few years.

‘RDX Lumina’ is led by Northwest Healthcare Properties and will house best-in-class medical research, training, and clinical facilities, including a world-first ‘Image-Guided Surgical Training and Technologies Centre.’

When complete, RDX Lumina will be dedicated to research and training, including supporting radiology and interventional cardiology innovation, specialised rehabilitation clinical services, and a Phase 1 human clinical trials unit. The architecturally designed building will also provide high-quality specialist medical consulting suites and collaboration spaces, catering for partial and whole floor uses with tenancies ranging from 100 sqm to 2,000 sqm. It is situated in a prime position, close to health leaders Gold Coast University Hospital, and Griffith University, and boasts a proposed bridge link to the Gold Coast Private Hospital.

Australia’s largest owner, manager and developer of healthcare real estate, Northwest Healthcare Properties is developing RDX Lumina. Northwest Vice President – Leasing, Georgie Huxley, said the opportunities offered by precinct co-location are invaluable.

“Our specialisation is in developing market-leading facilities and precincts that bring together the best medical expertise, technology and education opportunities across health and life sciences. To attract the best talent to these facilities, they must be strategically located and developed to the highest quality. Our focus for RDX has been to develop an ultra-modern, functional and most importantly, sustainable, building that will appeal to best-in-class tenants across research, virtual care, robotics, medical technology and other health, education and research-related fields.

“RDX is targeting a 6-Star Green Star rating, which sets the standard for healthy, resilient and environmentally friendly buildings through an internationally recognised rating system – which we know is important to market-leading tenants. This means that RDX will be a carbon-neutral, all-electric building and the first 6-Star Green Star facility in the Lumina precinct, which is a fantastic achievement,” Ms. Huxley said.

RDX Lumina will also soon house the world-first ‘Image-Guided Surgical Training and Technologies Centre.’ This facility has been developed as a training centre for Asia-Pacific specialists to pioneer new precision treatments for stroke, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and spinal injuries. It will feature Philips’ multi-million-dollar Azurion biplane interventional neurosurgery platform technology, led by nationally recognised Doctors Hal Rice and Laetitia de Villiers.

“This dedicated facility will have the latest equipment and space to accommodate larger groups of training doctors, without impacting patient care in a busy hospital environment. We’ll be able to revolutionise training and look to a future where AI and robotics will enable remote procedures, virtually anywhere in the world,” Dr Rice said. The Centre celebrated its official opening last month in a temporary location within Lumina and will relocate to the RDX Lumina once construction is completed

The Precinct’s new developments support the growing demand for lab and medical office space as the life sciences industry across APAC continues its upwards trajectory and attracts investors.

According to the CBRE Life Sciences Report 2022, the life science investable universe is forecast to grow to AUD $24 billion in the next decade. The last few years have been transformational for life sciences sector investment, with rapid change driven by the strong focus on R&D since the COVID-19 pandemic, a robust Australian healthcare system, a well-resourced research sector, pro-growth Government initiatives, IP protection laws and established major life science precincts in nearly all Australian States.  As testament to the growth of Life Sciences in Australia, The Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct was recently recognised as part of the Global Institute’s Network of Innovation Districts, joining a network of 40 international sites. The Global Network supports the progress of each participating innovation district, through cutting- edge research that assesses each district’s strengths, and through convening peer-learning sessions with strategic guidance from the Institute’s multidisciplined advisers.

Currently, demand for life science space in the APAC region is outstripping supply, especially in Southeast Asia, where the current supply of quality space is not sufficient to support future demand. There is also a competitive life sciences talent market, further driving demand for space – in a competitive labour market, the best real estate can become a drawcard on which life sciences companies compete.

The 2022 JLL research report ‘Life sciences in Asia Pacific – A booster for growth’ also reported that there was strong investor interest in medical office space, citing steady consumer demand for healthcare services and the continued shift to outpatient care as contributing to the appeal. In the report, Mindy Berman, Senior Managing Director, JLL Capital Markets said that “Medical office buildings are an attractive alternative asset class to investors during uncertain times due to their stable occupancy and durable income, offering consistent rental rates with annual growth.”

Lumina is experiencing a healthy appetite for medical offices from local and overseas leaders in life sciences. For example, a globally leading innovator in interventional neuroradiology ‘Phenox’ has secured two offices at Cohort Innovation Space, as the head office location for its new Australian subsidiary market.

As landowner, master developer and planning authority, Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) – part of the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning – is responsible for the development of Lumina over the next five to 10 years. EDQ’s investment in Lumina’s infrastructure since the land became available following the 2018 Commonwealth Games is successfully driving co-location opportunities for life science organisations. 

Eight out of 16 development-ready sites are either sold, agreed for sale, or under negotiation, including RDX Lumina. Two other major development projects – North Star and the Gold Coast Life Science Centre are nearing commencement with North Star securing a Development Approval last month and the Gold Coast Life Science Centre in final stages of assessment. Both developments are 11-storey, state-of-the-art, strata-titled developments adjacent to leading Gold Coast hospitals, expected to open in early 2025.

Available site areas ranging in size from 2,000 – 14,000sqm are available to purchase now at Lumina, and can be reconfigured to suit needs of occupants.

New development concepts and opportunities are being progressed on several Lumina sites. Areas of focus include life sciences, specifically fields such as biomedical technologies and surgical training, advanced prototype development, early childhood care and paediatrics, aged care, mental health, and specialist facilities for advanced rehabilitation and clinical trials. EDQ can provide business information and streamlined access to government services to support investment, as well as access to investment attraction incentives (subject to eligibility).

Enquire today about purchasing premium, freehold development-ready sites, or leasing and strata opportunities in current and upcoming developments including RDX Lumina, North Star, and the Gold Coast Life Science Centre, by submitting an enquiry here.

You can also download the Lumina Opportunities Pack here to explore all current, specific opportunities.

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