Ipswich City Council is expected to announce a new cinema operator for the Nicholas Street Precinct by August.
An updated progress report at the full council meeting last week revealed that a significant numbers of major cinema operators had responded to council’s expression of interest process, which ran from February to March this year.
As a result of that process there were numerous parties who expressed an interest in either leasing the building or entering a management agreement with council.
Mayor Teresa Harding said that entertainment providers are recognising the opportunities available in Queensland’s fastest-growing city.
“Our thriving community benefits from a variety of options for leisure across the city, including our 630 parks and reserves, a line-up of award-winning festivals and events, and our retail and entertainment precincts,” Mayor Harding said.
“Another world-class cinema will help to keep our city liveable as we welcome another 330,000 residents by 2041.”
Council has engaged leading professional services group KPMG to provide assistance with a preferred financial model, also relevant industry experts and an independent probity advisor.
Chair of the Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee Cr Marnie Doyle said council was pleased that the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) was also providing valuable insight.
“I am delighted QTC is helping us navigate major decisions over the next few months about the investment, debt levels and commercial implications of each deal presented to us,” Cr Doyle said.
Council officers had conducted tours of the precinct for the cinema operators and would next begin the tender process.
A report was expected to go back to council by July with a recommendation of contract for the successful tender.
Mayor Harding said the entire Ipswich community was excited about the entertainment and retail prospects for the precinct.
Council had signed 15 initial agreements with major retailers with financial details yet to be finalised. The market had been impacted severely by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020-21.
“The original business case could never have envisaged Covid, but progress continues to develop the city’s newest entertainment and retail precinct,” she said.
In other developments in the precinct:
- Work has commenced on the internal demolition of the Metro B building with the closure of the internal walkway access between Bell Street and Nicholas Street. Directional signage and hoarding will be in place to direct pedestrians and commuters to the alternate thoroughfare via Union Place.
- New screen installed – above the Cube in Tulmur Place now proudly features an impressive 6m digital LED screen. Currently in testing phase but stay tuned for the viewing calendar and some epic State of Origin games.