Client story

Creating the city of the future for La Trobe University

We assisted La Trobe University to attain an understanding of the risks, opportunities and approaches that could be undertaken to identify an appropriate development and investment partner to deliver their vision of reimagining their Melbourne Bundoora Campus. We then devised a plan over a two-year period to bring this to life.


La Trobe University set ambitious goals to transform the life of their university through their strategic plan as part of the $5 billion ‘City of the Future’ project. The aspiration for the campus transformation focuses on the evolution of an existing campus  into a “multi-precinct” offering by creating residential, commercial, retail and amenity across the site. The end goal is to allow for teaching and learning to occur across various precincts where people can live, work, shop, and forever change the way La Trobe university traditionally functions.


JLL was appointed to act as La Trobe’s dedicated Property Advisor to take senior decision-making members of the University on the journey of understanding how to prepare and commercialise the vision for its Melbourne campus. The output of this work led to the development of a strategy that identified and finally selected an appropriate development partner for their project.

The work involved guiding the University through government and planning processes, while identifying risks and how they could be managed.  By clearly defining the reasons why and the goals of the project to key stakeholders was extremely important. This enabled parties to understand the reasons behind seeking new mechanisms for future investment and annuity streams, being to create a better campus experience to attract more students, researchers and investment.

A key part of the strategy was to develop a clear “go to market” approach that addressed key areas and any concerns of both the University and major investment and development companies that would be part of the process in the future. Engagement with the market throughout our work informed the end process and allowed the opportunity for JLL to form a view of which organisations aligned with the University’s vision. After the two-phase process was run, JLL secured the partner and assisted with the negotiations.

Excellence is at the heart of everything we do - which is why we tapped into our extensive networks to secure a cross section of development and capital organisations we felt had the capacity and experience to offer insights into key areas of the project.


Following this two-year program of guiding La Trobe through the preparation and commercial positioning of the campus, in May 2022 La Trobe appointed Plenary as their development partner to bring to life the $5 billion ‘City of the Future’ project and transform the 235-hectare Melbourne Bundoora campus into a world-class facility.

Entering into a shared partnership agreement Plenary and La Trobe will form a governance structure to enable the planning and delivery of the project over an estimated 20-year period, and ultimately, provide a positive impact on the lives of more than 40,000 students.

Gerard Blood – Executive Director, University City of the Future

“La Trobe started in early 1960’s and have decided it is time for us to rethink our campus and University experience. To do this we needed to attract private sector partners and tenants. We appointed JLL to identify a partner that we could work with to redevelop the site over the next 15 years to bring their skills and capital. JLL worked with us to devise a great bespoke process and broker the relationships with the private sector which enabled us to run a transparent process to identify a partner that fits culturally and have the skills and aspiration we share for the project.”