Innovation Precinct Anchor Tenant Strategy

The Challenge

The client, a leading Australian university with a strong legacy in research and innovation, aimed to develop a state-of-the-art research precinct. The precinct was envisioned as a collaborative ecosystem, bringing together academia, industry, and research to foster innovation and drive economic growth. However, the university’s efforts to tenant the precinct had been met with limited success.

Prior consultancy engagements had delivered high-level advice, focusing on broad sectors such as the biomedical field. While there was a series of dialogues and interest from several smaller entities, the university struggled to make a significant breakthrough in terms of an anchor tenant. The need was to convert these preliminary discussions and the presence of some legacy tenants into solid, substantial partnerships, particularly with large anchor tenants who could serve as catalysts for the precinct’s growth and reputation.

The primary challenge lay in the transition from potential to actualisation. Despite the university’s reputation and the precinct’s touted facilities and opportunity, the pathway to securing large, influential anchor tenants remained unclear. The conversations, while numerous and promising, lacked the momentum to materialise into concrete agreements. The existing approach, though identifying high-potential sectors like the biomedical industry, fell short in addressing the specific, actionable steps needed to attract and secure key players.

The challenge was not just to attract any tenant but to strategically identify and secure anchor tenants whose presence would be instrumental in shaping the precinct’s identity and future. These tenants needed to be not just occupants of the space but pivotal partners in creating a dynamic, collaborative ecosystem that aligned with the university’s vision of innovation and excellence.

What We Did

Our approach was multifaceted. We went deep into the university’s strengths and potential, conducting a comprehensive analysis that unearthed unique opportunities in niche sectors. Recognising the intricacies of these fields, we reoriented the university’s strategy towards a problem-based approach, dissecting the ecosystem to understand and address potential barriers and enablers. Our strategy was about curating an environment where every participant, from tenants to partners, played a pivotal role in creating a thriving, interconnected community.

We aimed to transform the precinct into a magnet for innovation, attracting not just tenants but pioneers and industry leaders. Our approach was not merely a solution but a transformation, turning the university’s vision into a dynamic and prosperous reality.

  1. In-depth Research Analysis using proprietary methods: We conducted a comprehensive analysis using our priprietary bibliometric approaches to pinpoint the university’s unique value propositions within the research sector. Our findings highlighted niche areas with significant potential for example regenerative medicine drug delivery platforms.

  2. Problem-based Strategic Reorientation: Adopting a problem-based approach, we shifted the focus from mere industry engagement to actualising tenancy agreements. This involved a critical assessment of what would be necessary to turn potential opportunities into reality, particularly in the biotech sector.

  3. Identifying Key Challenges and Solutions: We recognised the specific challenges in this sector, such as the limited patient population in Australia for regenerative therapies, necessitating an export-driven strategy, for example. This, in turn, called for a comprehensive partnership network encompassing transportation, cold supply chain companies, and IoT device firms to ensure product integrity throughout the supply chain.

  4. Anchor Tenant Strategy Development: Our strategy was to establish a precinct not just as a physical space but as a virtual value chain ecosystem for the discovery, production, and export of regenerative medicines. This involved orchestrating introductions and facilitating negotiations between the university, potential tenants, and real estate teams, providing advice on various aspects, including debt structuring and board member engagement.


Working with us the university’s precinct strategy has yielded remarkable outcomes across multiple dimensions, significantly enhancing its profile and prospects:

  • Securing Key Tenants: Our efforts culminated in the university securing a major international biotech as an anchor tenant, alongisde ongoing discussions with manufacturing, transport and IoT partners. Additional bio-manufacturing entities are poised to join the precinct, further bolstering its stature.

  • Financial and Investment Milestones: The project has not only attracted internal funding but has also garnered external investments exceeding $10 million. We anticipate returns from tenancy alone are projected to surpass $100 million revenue, marking a significant financial milestone for the precinct.

  • Unlocking Additional Opportunities: The initiative has paved the way for significant professional training and commercial prospects, which are currently in the final stages of development. These opportunities promise to enhance the precinct’s offering and reputation further.

  • Creating sustainable competitive advantage: The precinct strategy has now also trickled down to bring sharp focus to other strategic entities throughout the university, including faculties and research centres. The opportunities are now mutually-reinforcing one another and driving a competitive differentiation for the client.