The rebuild of the century-old Commonwealth Hotel is progressing quickly with the facade going on this week, painting about to start and near completion of the first stage.
Ipswich City Council signed off on the Commonwealth Hotel reconstruction project as part of the $250 million CBD redevelopment last year and all is on target for a mid-2021 opening.
Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee Marnie Doyle said the rebirth of the federation icon, also known as Murphy’s Town Pub, was an exciting part of the CBD project.
“It has been amazing to watch this progress since work on restoring the Commonwealth Hotel began in November. Piece by piece, it has been put back together. A 1910 piece of nostalgia is slowly coming alive again,” Cr Doyle said.
Council has committed about $6 million to the initial deconstruction, then the reconstruction and restoration of the building to a shell which can then be leased to an external operator for a full pub fit out.
“The Commonwealth Hotel in Union Place is the only building of its age to survive the extensive Ipswich mall redevelopment of the mid-1980s, with council keen to retain the iconic pub for future generations,” Cr Doyle said before work started.
“In Ipswich, we have lost so many significant heritage and historical buildings that were victims of the ‘80s. I think this is one important win we need in Ipswich to preserve some of our history”.
The colour scheme, which at this stage has been proposed as brown and white, will be representative of the period and for a pub that would have faced a railway in 1910.
“I am sure the public will love the feel and vibe of the restored Murphy’s Town Pub and it will become just as iconic for decades to come,” she said.
Cr Doyle encouraged members of the public to send in old photographs of the Commonwealth Hotel, in all his last century glory, to get some ideas on colours for the façade. They can be sent to: NicholasStPrecinct@ipswich.qld.gov.au
A new 8.5m English bond brick wall has been constructed on the western side of the 110-year-old building, using more than 20,000 bricks, which had been removed from the site during deconstruction and stored for future use, along with the original timber from the windows, doors, veranda and floors.
Current lighting in the precinct will also make the building attractive at night and add to its presence in Union Place. Additional lighting will be addressed as part of the next construction phase.
In other positive news for the Nicholas Street Precinct, several hotel and pub operators are currently vying to secure the lease for this building, with investment interest in the wider precinct still very strong.