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Council moves to secure cinema operator for Nicholas Street Precinct

Ipswich City Council has resolved to support a proposal for a new cinema operator to move into the $250 million Nicholas Street Precinct. 

At a special council meeting this week, councillors voted in favour of the project as part of the Ipswich Central redevelopment. 

The name of the cinema operator and the terms of the lease agreement remain commercial-in-confidence at this point. 

Council approved a development application in June to enable the key retail, entertainment and commercial precinct to go ahead.

That approval included the “extension of the existing cinema complex located on the ground level to include an additional two cinemas, to provide a total eight cinemas; a small extension to the existing building is proposed to facilitate the provision of these additional cinemas, which will involve the raising of the existing roof in the location of the new cinemas”. 

Informed by expert reports which recommended securing a cinema as an anchor tenant, council sought expressions of interest and subsequently entered into negotiations with potential tenants, resulting in an operator signing a heads of agreement. 

A confidential report to council on Thursday outlined the deal. 

The council heard how terms of the lease have been independently reviewed by Colliers who indicated that the terms are consistent with the current cinema market and the overall retail market at present, given the pressures placed on the sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A majority of councillors endorsed the commercial terms of the proposed lease with the cinema operator and authorised CEO David Farmer to finalise terms of the lease agreement. 

Mayor Teresa Harding later said she was pleased with the outcome and that property specialist advisors had confirmed it would start the ball rolling in terms of attracting more key tenants to ensure the vibrant new precinct comes alive in 2021. 

“This is a big step for council and the community. It won’t be long, with the opening of the Ipswich Central library next month, that the beating heart of the city centre will be alive and flourishing. Securing this agreement is an important step in rebuilding our city heart and we look forward to seeing the next pieces of the puzzle in place,” Mayor Harding said. 

Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee, Cr Marnie Doyle was also fully supportive of the decision and thanked council officers who had worked on the heads of agreement. 

“Entering into the lease agreement on the terms outlined in the confidential attachments to this report will create positive momentum for the overall leasing strategy in the precinct, and progress council’s stated objective of creating an activated, vibrant city heart,” Cr Doyle said.

“Securing a cinema operator as the key anchor tenant has always been critical to the success of the precinct, based on expert review by consultants including KPMG. This is a significant milestone in the development of the Nicholas Street Precinct and will be the catalyst for securing other tenants in the precinct.”

The cinema is not expected to open until the second half of 2021.

Read more

 >>>Council approves Ipswich Central redevelopment plans featuring cinemas and go karting track

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