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Murdoch Square – the story begins

The journey from a patch of no-man’s land between Fiona Stanley Hospital and St John of God Murdoch Hospital into a vibrant multi-use health, residential and lifestyle hub has been the preoccupation of developer Hesperia’s development director Ian Smyth since October 2016.

He says watching Murdoch Square, which is a 1.2ha first stage development within the l0ha Murdoch Health and Knowledge Precinct (MHKP), slowly materialise into a mini township is immensely satisfying.

Emerging from the site midway through 2023 will be five connected multi-storey buildings housing a short-stay private hospital and cancer centre, a 182- bed Aegis Aged Care facility, the State’s first medi hotel with 80 beds, disability accommodation, an international hotel, short-stay and residential apartments, medical suites, childcare facilities, extensive parking facilities and commercial and community services including dining and retail outlets.

“The concept is to create a town centre that services not only the facilities and commercial businesses within Murdoch Square, but also offers people who work and visit the two adjacent tertiary hospitals a place to meet and socialise,” Mr Smyth said.

International design firm Hassell Studio is the lead architect and has been responsible for the overall design, which features an attractive landscaped plaza at the heart of the development
“Following our work on the Fiona Stanley Hospital to Murdoch Square, we see the precinct as an ongoing creation of people-focused places, with particular emphasis on creating enjoyable experiences for visitors, patients, and healthcare workers. The inclusion of diverse landscape settings provide respite, reflection as well as nourishment, celebration, and connection with the community,” said Hassell Principal Peter Dean.

“The beautifully landscaped plaza becomes a bustling centre with access to all the buildings from both the plaza and the surrounding streets,” Mr Smyth said.

The diverse usages at play in Murdoch Square will present an interesting social dynamic for its first inhabitants as they proceed to live and work and inevitably become a community, sharing facilities, spaces, time and perhaps even life stories!

“Much thought has been put into designing built structures and landscaping that promote multi­ generational social connection,” Mr Smyth said.

“Aegis was on the ground floor of planning with Hesperia, keen to create a new era in high-care
residential aged care across eight to nine storeys that would integrate with the broader activity in the square.”

“Once completed, it will have its own private landscaping as well as direct access to the plaza and its facilities. Aegis will also run the medihotel in collaboration with the South Metropolitan Health Service.”

Enhancing the lifestyle-friendly development will be a hotel run by the distinguished international hotel chain, Marriott, which Mr Smyth says will be a huge asset for those living south of the river as well as providing accommodation for out­ of-town families of both patients at the hospitals and students at Murdoch University.

While the area has naturally been seen in the past as a medical precinct, given its close proximity to two major tertiary hospitals, Mr Smyth says as Murdoch Square matures and other developments, earmarked for education and research in the broader MHKP, take off, the square will become a town hub.

“We have four sectors of demand in this one location – health, education, research institutes and tourism – these are strong ongoing drivers.
“From just one of those sectors – health – with Aegis and the medihotel on board, so grew the commitment for a day hospital, a GP clinic, medical suites, pathology, radiology plus hospitality and residential apartments.

“The square is ready to come alive.”


First published in Medical Forum, April 2022 edition.

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