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    Westmead versus Rozelle: Sydney districts fight to become NSW Silicon Valley

    A new development at Westmead Hospital will bolster recent arguments calling for western Sydney to become the new home for a state technology hub.

    Two new buildings by HDR Rice Daubney and MSJ Architects have been proposed for Australia's biggest health services precinct and give weight to a recent report suggesting Westmead’s position as a potential tech-hub for NSW is unsurpassed.

    The Westmead Innovation District: Building Western Sydney’s jobs engine by Deloitte Access Economics puts forward a vision to drive investment and jobs growth in western Sydney by transforming Westmead into a globally competitive innovation district by 2036.

    The study details the level of infrastructure and investment needed to grow the Westmead precinct into a true innovation district and forecasts that the area could potentially bring in 50,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion of economic output to the NSW economy each year by 2036.

    But Westmead does have some competition.

    In October, 2015 the NSW Government announced plans to develop the country's first high-tech hub at Sydney’s The Bays Precinct and called for fee proposals for the adaptive re-use of the area.

    The brief was to transform the White Bay Power Station, which sits at one end of The Bays Precinct, into a hub for knowledge-intensive industries and within months the government had received 13 proposals, which by initial accounts were of a high standard.

    But then Urban Growth completed a backflip and retreated from original statements by denouncing all 13 bids as unsatisfactory and missing the brief entirely.

    The bids, according to Urban Growth NSW Chairman John Brogden, missed the mark because they were too heavily reliant on residential development within the site to fund the decontamination and repurposing of the power station.

    The development has been stalled as Urban Growth divides the precinct up into smaller more manageable portions, causing some commentators to question whether a tech hub, which considers little residential development, is actually viable for the Rozelle location.

    A NEW LINK FOR WESTMEAD

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    The new 12-storey Central Acute Services Building (CASB) and adjacent Innovation Building will form an integral link between Westmead’s children and adult hospitals and the Westmead Institute Building by BVN architects.

    They’ve been designed by HDR Rice Daubney and MSJ Architects and will integrate a number of adult and paediatric services including pharmacy and imaging. It will also include new state-of-the-art operating theatres, a new emergency department for adults and paediatric patients and a new cardiac comprehensive care centre to provide a one-stop shop for patients requiring specialist treatments from multi-disciplinary teams.

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    Stage 1 of the $900 million Westmead Redevelopment also includes refurbishments of some areas within Westmead Hospital to support comprehensive care centres for gastroenterology, respiratory and aged care as well as expanding ambulatory care.

    Images: HDR Rice Daubney/MJS 

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