Ipswich City Council today reached another milestone in winding up Ipswich City Properties Pty Ltd, the council-owned company set up a decade ago to manage the redevelopment of the CBD.
Council will continue to manage the redevelopment, but without the cloak of a separate company.
“The rejuvenation of Ipswich Central will provide Ipswich residents with a new city heart, a major public plaza, new council offices, new cafes, shops and a long-awaited restored version of the Commonwealth Hotel,” council interim administrator Greg Chemello said.
There was a special meeting of council this morning to approve processes required to help close ICP.
“Importantly, it means there’s no cloak and dagger management of the project – everything is now being managed in accord with local government policies and procedures, fully transparent for all to see,” Mr Chemello said.
“Today’s resolution puts the rejuvenation of the CBD in the hands of the CEO David Farmer and council’s management team, who are now formally responsible for delivering the city an exciting and vibrant city centre.”
Mr Chemello has previously confirmed that the current council buildings are being sold to Queensland Health to allow the Ipswich Base Hospital to expand to meet the progressive health needs of the city’s growing population.
He said this was essential to ensuring continued vibrancy of Ipswich Central’s core employment, where one in four jobs are already in the healthcare sector.
The top of town district will feed from the new energy of a revitalised Ipswich Central, and there are moves afoot to encourage innovative businesses to make Ipswich their new home.
Council’s 2019-20 Budget has $111 million set aside for the project.
“Winding up a company is no easy process – particularly when there is so much money at stake,” Mr Chemello said.
“As discussed previously in a McGrath Nicol report about ICP’s financial state, the project has cost the city about $78 million to date.
“Part of this process is to write off a $24.9 million loan from council to ICP. There is also a sequence of reimbursements, payments, transfers and write-downs between council and the company, all of which were costs identified by McGrathNicol in their report.”
Mr Chemello said this was the end for ICP but the start of a new era of positive and transparent renewal for the city of Ipswich.
“People have plenty to look forward to,” he said.
“We’ve released new artist’s impressions which show how the plaza and new-look buildings will transpire. And there will be announcements in coming months about some fantastic businesses wanting to be part of this renewal – brand names which will be helping make Ipswich Central a great place to visit.”