University of Melbourne’s Little Hall breaks ground

Business identities and philanthropists Paul Little and Jane Hansen, with the University of Melbourne, have broken ground on a proposed student accommodation complex in Carlton.

Little Hall (artist’s impression, top) will rise 14-storeys and contain 669 dwellings, deriving annual income of about $2 million which the university will keep.

The $110 million construction job has been awarded to Hutchinson Builders.

Mr Little and his wife, Ms Hansen, via their Hansen Little Foundation, last year gifted the college $30 million toward building costs.

The $110 million project is being delivered following a $30 million donation from business identities and philanthropists, Paul Little and his wife, Jane Hansen.

Little Projects, the development company Mr Little founded in 2006, but sold out of last December, is delivering the project.

Little Hall will be Little Projects’ first foray into the student accommodation sector.

The project forms part of a philanthropic student accommodation model, the brainchild of Jane Hansen, where at least $2 million of Little Hall’s annual rental return will fund a student scholarship program.

‘The Hansen Scholarship’ will be awarded to talented undergraduate students “whose financial circumstances present a challenge to accessing a first-class education”.

The annual program, with an inaugural intake of 20 students, will run for at least 40 years. Recipients will get free education, accommodation and assistance with general living expenses.

A Google Street View image of Lincoln House and the former International Tobacco Co factory, both which will be incorporated into Little Hall.

Little Hall, earmarked for 625-633 Swanston Street, on the south-west corner of Lincoln Square South, will incorporate two historic buildings: the former International Tobacco Co factory, and Lincoln House.

The facade will feature Portuguese limestone. Shared internal spaces will also include natural materials.

Some proposed apartments will enjoy north-facing views over Lincoln Square.

“The project will set a benchmark for purpose-designed high-quality student accommodation and is one we are incredibly proud to put our name to,” Little Projects construction director Paris Lechte said.

Little Hall is Little Projects’ first student accommodation project. The developer is also proposing its first hotel, at 27 Downie Street in the Melbourne CBD (artist’s impression).

“Little Hall will provide much needed accommodation very close to [the university’s Parkville] campus and will at the same time provide a unique offering by incorporating lifestyle elements throughout the shared spaces,” he added.

Built around a central garden courtyard, the complex will contain a gymnasium, cinema, laundry, games lounge, café and multiple study spaces.

Little Hall will also offer a “state of the art communal learning hub” to “provide an academic enrichment program to residents to support both their transition to university life and study experience”.

University of Melbourne chief operating officer Allan Tait said Little Hall will enable the university to meet the demand for more high-quality student accommodation and will set a benchmark for living and learning spaces, nationally.

“Thanks to the generosity of Paul Little and Jane Hansen, Little Hall will provide students with the highest quality residential accommodation for our students.

Last August we reported that Little Projects was proposing this apartment building opposite Prahran’s Grattan Gardens.

“Students will be surrounded by some of the best amenities and facilities and be supported by the university’s academic enrichment program, and quality pastoral care and wellbeing services during their studies,” Mr Allan said.

In 2015, the Hansen Little Foundation gave $10 million to the University of Melbourne’s history department.

In 2017, it donated $3.5 million toward upgrade works of Victoria’s State Library.

Little Hall is scheduled for completion by mid-2020, the same year the Hansen Scholarship Program will commence.

Last month we reported that Trinity College, which operates within the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus, leased nearly half of a 20,000 square metre office earmarked to replace the Melbourne City Toyota site at 611-681 Elizabeth Street – not far from Little Hall.

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Marc Pallisco

A freelance property analyst and journalist, Marc is a co-founder of realestatesource.com.au.

Marc Pallisco
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