WATCH QTV: The highlights of your $150 million CBD
THE Ipswich public was promised world class and now the QT can reveal what world class will look like, and where the key components of the $150 million Ipswich CBD redevelopment will be located.
The Ipswich City Square shopping centre rejuvenation is a joint project of Melbourne-based developer epc.Pacific, Ipswich City Properties (ICP) and Ipswich City Council with work expected to start in the second half of 2017.
Cr Paul Tully, ICP chairman, took the QT on a tour of the redevelopment plans which have identified the location of the council administration building, the new Ipswich library, food and beverage outlets, a zero-depth water feature and other key features.
As he pointed at the plans we turned from Brisbane St into Nicholas St, where the mall is currently located.
"We turn into the existing mall, which will be converted partly into a single-lane street and go right to the end of what is now the mall and turn back into Union Place," Cr Tully said.
"There will be plenty of room for people to be dropped off because we want a lot of people (in the mall)."
Cr Tully said the speed limit would be very low along the one-way street.
He then pointed to the connectivity which will exist by the linkage of the mall with Bell St, which will require existing structures to be demolished
"That linkage will include green space, pop-up and food and beverage all through there, and that's an important link.
"There will also be the direct link from Brisbane St right through to the river and across to Riverlink.
"That is a vision that we haven't had since 1987 when that was blocked off completely."
Moving down to the northern end of the mall we will have the water feature on the left, along with the new library which will be surrounded by more civic space and food and beverage outlets.
"On the right at the northern end is the council administration building with a civic plaza and more greenery on the corner of Bremer and Bell Sts.
"We also hope to have a buyer for Murphy's Pub (owned by ICP) and utilise that in the future."
Two or three of the buildings on the corner of Ellenborough St and Brisbane St have also been identified as residential, including student accommodation, with connectivity laneways through to the mall planned.
The above mentioned redevelopment was based largely on 300 community submissions to Co-Design, the company set up to handle the community consultation.
When unveiling the plans, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale turned to Greek mythology to liken the redevelopment as "a Phoenix rising from the ashes".
Almost a decade ago, Cr Pisasale was mulling over how to transform the mall area, which had lost its lustre.
No developer was interested in rejuvenating the space.
So Cr Pisasale called Cr Tully at 4.30am with an idea. That idea was the bold one to buy the CBD. A council-owned company was set up - ICP - and $50 million was borrowed.
In 2011 construction started on the Icon Tower.
"That was pre-sold to Cromwell Property Group for $93 million which was used to repay the loan with the Queensland Treasury," Cr Pisasale said.
"Then 12 months ago a heads of agreement was signed with epc.Pacific to develop this stage - which we are calling stage two.
"It was a big call for a council to buy its own CBD but it enabled us to take control of our own destiny.
"The feedback we received on what the community wanted strongly supported more open space, large scale entertainment and water play areas.
"We listened to the people.
"This water feature will be world class. It will give kids entertainment and will be something they can run through and splash in during the day.
"By night it will light up as a sound and light show.
"I have people on a daily basis wanting to invest in our new CBD. One phone call today they were talking about $150 million."