Ipswich City Council’s $150 million Nicholas Street redevelopment is set to include a new cinema complex and an indoor go kart track.
Council’s development application lodged this week focuses on land at at 143, 143A and 163 Brisbane Street, 23 and 24 Ipswich City Mall and 2 Bell Street, Ipswich.
It specifically seeks a development permit for a material change of use for business use, entertainment use, recreation use and shopping centre as part of the development application.
Precinct B (Venue) is currently improved with a 2-3 storey building which is proposed to be reconfigured to accommodate a range of new uses, including:
• reconfiguration of the lower level to provide a tenancy intended to be used for indoor recreation activities, specifically an indoor go kart track
• 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
• provision of a new tenancy on the ground level adjoining the existing cinema lobby which may be used for a range of business, entertainment or recreational purposes.
The cinema complex in the CBD, operated by Birch, Carroll and Coyle, closed down in May and the application looks to make the new movies area bigger and better, including upgrades to seating in the existing six cinemas.
Precinct A (143 and 143A Brisbane Street) will allow for the establishment of new business uses such as café, fast food premises, offices, restaurant, shops, entertainment venues and indoor recreation on the ground floor along Nicholas Street.
Precinct J (Metro B and associated development) will allow for similar uses and additionally medical centres. It will also feature a new internal mall connecting Nicholas Street with Bell Street. Precinct K (Metro A) will have similar tenancies.
The proposed development will be serviced by existing car parking facilities, including the existing car park accessed via Bremer Street and located under the new Library and Civic Plaza. A high level of pedestrian access is expected owing to the location of the development within the city centre.
The proposed development seeks to integrate with adjoining and nearby development, and a particular focus on facade improvements and refurbishment of the existing buildings.
It is consistent with the South East Queensland Regional Plan in that it “supports the economic development of the Ipswich area and the broader SEQ region” and “contributes to the character of the Ipswich city centre through the revitalisation and modernisation of established buildings”.
As per a new council policy, the development is classified as a sensitive development matter as it has been made by one area of council to another area of council and does not relate to the provision of standard local government infrastructure.
This means the application will be decided by full council, following a prior external review of the officers’ recommendation by a new Independent Decision Review Panel, which will be made up of one or more independent experts in fields relevant to the application.
This is a new, additional step in council’s assessment process to deliver an increase in transparency, community and customer confidence and accuracy in decision making.
Few, if any other councils in Queensland have a similar model when it comes to decision-making on controversial or sensitive developments. However, a number of other states have a similar processes in place, which this has been modelled on.