CBD commitments put Ipswich back on track

Redevelopment of the Ipswich mall has this week been given a series of injections which will see the project moving again.

Two crucial tenders are to be awarded – one to develop historic Murphy’s Pub, and another to build a road which connects Nicholas and Bell Streets.

And the project is set to be back under the management of council after it was decided at Council’s monthly meeting on Tuesday to wind up Ipswich City Properties.

It is the last of four Council-owned companies to be wound up, although the process could take many months to finalise.

In addition, negotiations are being finalised which would allow West Moreton Hospital and Health Service to occupy part of Level 3 and all of Level 4 in the Council-owned Hayden Centre.

Ipswich City Council and West Moreton Hospital and Health Service have entered a Memorandum of Understanding to manage the transition of existing council-owned offices, including the Hayden Centre, Administration Building and IGIC Building.

Under the current plan, council staff will move into a new building within the Ipswich Central precinct when construction is finished.

The Murphy’s Pub tender has been awarded to James Trowse Constructions after months of intensive review processes.

Ipswich City Council interim administrator Greg Chemello said the project would focus on the stabilisation, lifting and sub-structure of the pub, followed by the interior and exterior renovation and restoration works.

“When it’s finished, the pub will be known by its original name, The Commonwealth Hotel, and will feature reconstructed verandas and extensive al fresco areas,” Mr Chemello said.

“Restoration and heritage experts have numbered individual elements prior to their removal from the site to ensure that the pub reconstruction will accurately recreate the original 1910 building.”

Mr Chemello said pedestrians and cars would have access along the new one-way, low-speed road connecting Nicholas St and Bell St, via Union Place.

Civil engineering contractors will design and construct the section of road, including the demolition of the existing Ipswich Mall and pavements, excavation works and the installation and/or relocation of underground services such as stormwater, power, lighting and communications.

Both projects are expected to start within weeks.

Ipswich Chamber of Commerce president Phillip Bell said some traders had been frustrated by delays to the Ipswich Central development.

“But these are all good signs that Ipswich is moving in the right direction,” Mr Bell said.

“We’re excited that Ipswich Central is proposing space for commercial, retail, entertainment, food and beverage businesses. We’re supportive of any project which helps rejuvenate business in the Ipswich heart, and considering this project is over 8 hectares, it’s the most significant improvement to the city in more than 30 years.

“I look forward to overlooking modern water features from one of the new restaurants which are expected to line Union Place.” 



Ipswich City Council strategic objectives for the renewal of the Ipswich CBD

  1. Create an enduring and thriving civic heart for the City of Ipswich; a core open plaza framed by the city’s main library, water features, public art, malls, cafes, restaurants and convenience retail offerings, with strong connectivity to Riverlink, Top of Town, key future civic and cultural sites and the rest of the CBD, attracting both residents and tourists to the city centre.
  2. Provide a civic, cultural and entertainment precinct that supports and reinforces rather than compete with other more retail-focused centres such as Riverlink and Springfield.
  3. Ensure that existing major service providers and employers in the Ipswich CBD are secured and provided with growth opportunities for the future.
  4. Relocate council’s administration centre to the new civic heart; achieving two key objectives: bringing a significant worker population into the civic heart (supporting retail businesses); and enabling Queensland Health to expand its services beyond the current constrained hospital site and progressively redevelop the current council site (bringing health facilities, staff and clients closer to the CBD).
  5. Empower private sector investors and occupiers to renew and enliven the retail and entertainment sites around the civic heart (through the above projects, the mall reconstruction and external refurbishment of council owned properties).
  6. Set a resilient framework for other significant projects in the CBD including the performing arts centre and redevelopment of the state’s properties of Health Plaza and former transit centre.
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