Rejuvenating the CBD will take time, and US example leads way

FUTURE VISION: Artist’s impressions of how the Ipswich Mall and CBD will look after a $150 million redevelopment.
FUTURE VISION: Artist’s impressions of how the Ipswich Mall and CBD will look after a $150 million redevelopment. Contributed

THE IPSWICH CBD can rejuvenate and become a thriving and safe hub in much the same way as Pasadena's did in the US.

In 2000 Cr Paul Tully travelled to Pasadena in California, which is a city within the city of Los Angeles, much like Ipswich is in Brisbane.

Cr Tully, now the Ipswich City Properties chairman, knew back then that the Ipswich Mall needed a revamp.

The $150 million next stage of the billion-dollar rebirth of Ipswich's city centre will include 30,000 square metres of retail, entertainment and dining outlets and opening the Ipswich Mall to face the Bremer River, with work to hopefully start next year.

Pasadena had issues with crime and a lack of a vibe in its city centre in the 1990s. But the city turned that around.

"Pasadena was run down and crime rates were high and it was very unattractive within the greater Los Angeles area," Cr Tully said.

"They put money into security and safety and encouraged outdoor dining and redevelopment of buildings. They made it an attractive place for couples and families to go.

"They turned the tide and had people coming from across Los Angeles to Pasadena.

"It worked there and the same sort of concept can work in Ipswich by attracting people into the CBD.

"At night that can be with street entertainment and good dining facilities."

The Ipswich Mall redevelopment facilitate the relocation of Woolworths, so there will be a walkway from Brisbane St to the river.

"It will provide a continuous walking link through from Brisbane St to Riverlink and make it a much more appealing place to go," Cr Tully said.

Cr Tully said it would then likely be a safer place to go to because "you won't have the dead end at the end of the mall".

"When the mall was opened in 1987, you had the Ipswich railway workshops on the other side of the river and it wasn't a very appealing sort of view.

"Now it is going to develop a little bit like the Brisbane CBD and Southbank where there will be a connection between the two, and they will complement each other."

When it acquired Ipswich City Square, ICP saw the redevelopment of Ipswich as a project running over 15 to 20 years.

ICP is in discussions now with proponents who will work towards a development solution including the opening up of Nicholas St, so not only will there be a vista across to Riverlink but also a pedestrian connection.

Cr Tully said the malls that had been most successful were in capital cities where there were large populations. Malls in provincial cities have been more problematic. Ipswich is a good example, where due to the development of major suburban shopping centres the CBD has lost some of its attraction. Townsville had a similar plan for its mall to what Ipswich is aiming for, and Cr Tully said the mall there had become vibrant with outdoor dining and attractions.

"We see that as happening both along the mall, Bell St and Brisbane St.

"What you need is people there during the day with jobs, for example in the Icon building, which will be home ultimately to 1200 public servants.

"But you also need people there at night and you can do that in two ways, either with residential towers or attracting them to the city with entertainment and outdoor dining.

"But that will be a lot easier when you have that visual connection between the mall and Riverlink."

Topics:  ipswich cbd

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