University of Sydney engagement for AgTech collaboration

25 October 2022

The University of Sydney is seeking expressions of interest for a lease over part of its Cobbitty landholding, co-location with the University in Western Sydney and education and research opportunities.

The expansive 11-hectare site, which has power and water, at 65-107 Cobbitty Road in Cobbitty is adjacent to the University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute facility to the west.

Potential tenants may seek to establish a physical presence alongside the University, for example, by providing leasing opportunities within existing University buildings or ground leases on alternative sites in Western Sydney.

All proposals must show a commitment to working with the University of Sydney to develop education and research opportunities.

Knight Frank has been exclusively appointed to run the expressions of interest process, which will seek proposals for a ground lease for users in the AgTech and Agribusiness sectors.

Acquiring this large format land position on long term ground lease could permit the successful proponent to engage in a wide array of high value uses – subject to council approval – including protected cropping, plant breeding, alternate proteins, automation, commercial quarantine (plants and animals), research, education and skill development and nutraceuticals.

Knight Frank agent Mark Litwin, who is running the EOI campaign along with colleagues James Reeves and Angus Klem, said the University of Sydney’s objectives for potential development at Cobbitty and other University landholdings in Western Sydney are centred around collaborative relationships with industries in the agriculture and food sectors.

“This includes using part of the land as a commercial agriculture and food production site, new campus style co-location, and research, education, training and commercialisation partnerships,” he said.

“Ranked number one in Australia, and fourth in the world for graduate employability, the University of Sydney is one of the best relationship-based landlords for this industry.

“A respected global brand, and excellent resourcing make this opportunity a standout for any entity looking to accelerate its future in the AgTech space.”

Mr Litwin said the site was strategically located in Sydney’s rapidly expanding Southwest.

“Sydney’s Southwest continues its emergence as the pre-eminent metropolitan green belt, producing food for local, national and international markets,” he said.

“Proximity to the new 24/7 Western Sydney Airport increases market opportunities and distribution efficiencies.”

Mr Reeves said as an emerging industry, AgTech continued to draw interest from enterprising investment capital.

“The AgTech and Agribusiness sectors are rapidly emerging globally, with opportunities increasing daily, and it’s exciting to be at the leading edge of something so critically valuable in the coming decades,” he said.

“The spotlight on the relationship between farming and technology grows brighter every year, if not every season, as we meet climate change head on.

“A precinct that aims to incubate, foster and springboard advances in the agricultural industry is an exciting prospect.”