$13 million hotel plan for old courthouse given approval
THE PLANNED $13 million overhaul of the old Ipswich Courthouse has been given the green light to proceed by Ipswich City Council.
Newground Ipswich Hotel Pty Ltd submitted a development application late last year seeking approval to develop the 40-year-old building into a 147-room hotel.
The council, after asking for more information about parking and traffic impacts on surrounding streets, ticked it off on March 30.
The site at 59 East Street has sat vacant since the state government sold the building for $3.3 million in 2014.
It was previously approved for a hospital and medical centre in 2018 but has mainly been a haven for squatters in recent years.
The council’s economic and community development manager Cat Matson said in February the project was valued at $13 million and it would create about 125 new jobs.
The existing building will be refurbished internally and externally with internal linings, ceilings and partitions to be demolished.
The L-shape of the building will remain the same, with a restaurant and bar to be added on the ground floor.
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“The proposed development seeks to broadly retain the existing footprint of the building, with the ultimate development, with the large part of this development seeking only to reconfigure and refurbish the internal layout of the building,” the application notes.
“An extension to the existing second storey is proposed to create a full storey, in lieu of the existing partial floor plate.
“This is the only portion of the building where an extension of the existing floor plate is proposed.”
It is planned for the entry to the building to be realigned to create a main entrance from Foote Lane.
“The facade changes at the entry create a new and visually attractive entry to the building, and reorients the active areas of the building away from Limestone Street creating a more pedestrian friendly environment to the building,” the application notes.
“The ground floor restaurant and bar area are oriented to address Market Square, and are complemented through the introduction of a deck and timber arbour that extends to the property boundary.
“The deck is also proposed to connect via a set of stairs into the existing footpath network within Market Square, creating logical and permeable connections to the public realm.
“On the ground floor an internal courtyard is also created in the western portion of the building, to introduce a facade to the elements of the building to permit additional guest rooms to face each other, and optimise the layout of the upper floors.”
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