North Star Points the Way with Design for the Future of Healthcare
NEWS - 26 Sep 2023
With development approval granted, this proposed cutting-edge health innovation hub, North Star is positioned to become a world-class centre for medical research and development and clinical services. This unique development, in partnership with internationally renowned Gold Coast-based nephrologist and renal specialist Dr Alan Parnham, will make it a “dreamland” for doctors and scientists, according to Vincent Yu, CEO of QLM Health Management, one of the development partners.
North Star is an interconnected, environmentally friendly building in the heart of the Lumina precinct. Its position within the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct gives partners an opportunity to practise state-of-the-art medicine, clinical trials, and medical device development alongside other professionals committed to creating the future of healthcare.
North Star is the brainchild of Trilogy, a partnership founded in 2021 by Vincent Yu and Shawn Wang (owners of medical tourism company QLM Health Management) and Dr Alan Parnham.
With an extensive international investment and business background, Mr Yu was the brainchild behind QLM, established to help people from his homeland of China gain access to leading healthcare services. “We believe that by providing superior medical consultation, treatment and tourism services, we can deliver a better-quality of life to patients,” Yu says. “Australia has one of the best health services in the world; and the stunning City of Gold Coast was the perfect location to set up our operations.”
While seeking medical care for clients with kidney issues, Yu crossed paths with Dr. Parnham, and they quickly hit it off. “He’s one of the best renal specialists in the world and a wonderful person dedicated to helping others”, he says. When Dr Parnham was looking to expand his clinic, he sought Yu’s development advice, and Trilogy was born.
North Star is specifically designed to drive world-class research and collaboration in the precinct, taking inspiration from innovative models from around the world. “I’ve seen many similar precincts, known as ‘Innovation Cities’, in Asia,” Yu says. “In China, for example, the government has occupied a 37 square kilometre area of land to create a genome and stem cell research city, which has attracted a number of Nobel-nominated scientists from all around the world.”
He is of the opinion that Australia, particularly the Gold Coast, is well-positioned to assume a leadership role on the global stage of Innovation Precincts. “We are a tier one research force,” he says. “We have the highest standards for drug development and clinical trials. As a state, Queensland has many tremendous research institutions linking hospitals, doctors and universities with their own areas of specialty innovation and R&D.”
Dr Parnham’s extensive healthcare experience provides a robust foundation for pioneering work at North Star. “He is bringing over 30 years’ of real-world experience treating patients at the front line so we can find new ways to provide more people with a better quality of life,” Yu says. “Dr Parham is setting up a research and innovation centre to develop ways to measure, manage and treat the hypertension which underlies many kidney related problems.” The centre will also enable international clinicians, including doctors from developing nations such as Sumatra and Fiji, to receive advanced medical training and access to R&D.
The 5 star Green Star designed building consists of nine levels; three levels of podium carparking and six levels dedicated to healthcare services, with flexible open plans that can be divided into smaller tenancies.
North Star recognises the importance of relaxation for healthcare professionals. The presence of outdoor spaces, café, balconies on every floor, and a dedicated green space on level four provides areas where building occupants can relax, unwind, and rejuvenate their minds. The building incorporates features to foster collaboration, while also providing room for bright minds to decompress. “We want to give researchers and healthcare professionals a space to think, to relax, to let their minds focus on innovation,” Yu says.
North Star will cater to medical researchers, MedTech innovators, medical consultants, and healthcare professionals. Pathology, radiology, and pharmacy services have already secured space, as has a leading biotech company.
North Star’s anticipated success is founded on strong growth in the region’s life sciences sector. According to CBRE’s 2023 Asia Pacific Life Sciences Real Estate Trends report, life sciences R&D spending has rapidly increased over recent years to support new drug discoveries. As one of life sciences firms’ biggest expenses, R&D spending accounted for an average of 15%-20% of industry revenue in 2022.
Favourable market forces mean R&D rents perform well. Strong demand and limited availability pushed up rents for R&D lab space in China, Singapore, and India by between 5-30% year on year in 2022. Meanwhile, life sciences companies maintain a keen interest in locking in longer term leases for high-quality, specialised R&D space.
Economic Development Queensland (EDQ), as master developer of Lumina plays a pivotal role in bringing this visionary project to life. North Star is located within Lumina – a 9.5-hectare commercial cluster, dedicated to growing life sciences, health, and technology-related businesses.
Lumina sits within the wider Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct, anchored by Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus, two hospitals (Gold Coast University Hospital and Gold Coast Private Hospital) and Cohort Innovation Space.
Economic Development Queensland’s investment in Lumina’s infrastructure is fuelling co-location opportunities, enabling healthcare services, HealthTech, and health-related industry stakeholders to connect with academics, researchers, clinicians, and patients.
“EDQ have done an excellent job in planning Lumina,” says Yu. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity of setting up our footprint here. We’re looking forward to seeing more buildings completed and watching the life sciences ecosystem grow both at the precinct and within Queensland’s thriving bio-medical industry.”
Lumina presents an array of premium development-ready sites for acquisition. With a resolute focus on life sciences encompassing biomedical technologies, advanced prototype development, early childhood care, aged care, mental health, and advanced rehabilitation and clinical trial facilities, Lumina offers a gateway to streamlined access to government services and investment incentives.
Opportunities are available now to lease or purchase in North Star. Yu explains the design offers great flexibility in terms of floor size, with options ranging from 200 sqm to a whole floor of up to 900 sqm. The plans also support equipment such as medical gases and emergency power generation.
Additional features include collaborative green spaces, over 160 carparks, 40 bicycle parks, indoor sports, end of trip and function facilities.
“We’re creating an environment where like-minded people can contribute to cutting edge research and development. We welcome enquiries from anyone interested in health and medical innovation, training, or R&D,” Yu says.