Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Leighton executive director Andrew Borger and Cr Andrew Antoniolli check out the model of the Ipswich CBD masterplan.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Leighton executive director Andrew Borger and Cr Andrew Antoniolli check out the model of the Ipswich CBD masterplan. Robert Williams

$1b vision for a new Ipswich CBD

IPSWICH will become to Brisbane what Parramatta is to Sydney, city leaders say.

The Ipswich City Properties (ICP) and Leighton Properties on Wednesday announced a $1 billion rejuvenation of the city’s neglected heart to make it the centre of the booming corridor west of Brisbane.

ICP, which bought the large dilapidated Ipswich City Square shopping precinct in March 2009, is wholly owned by Ipswich City Council.

“This is the first time any local government has taken the courageous decision to buy its own CBD,” Mayor Paul Pisasale told AAP on Wednesday.

“It was only 45 per cent occupied, and no private investor wanted to touch it, it wasn’t viable. We had to take control of our own destiny.”

The project includes residential inner-city living, an office precinct, entertainment and retail space.

Mr Pisasale said construction would begin in 2011 with the first tower completed by 2013. The whole project will take 10 to 15 years to complete.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to create a world-class city centre based on sustainable design principles and open up our city heart to the Bremer River and River Heart parklands,” he said.

ICP chairman and city councillor Paul Tully said: “Ipswich City Square will become a focus for decentralisation of commercial and government offices in the same way Parramatta serves Sydney.”

After decades in the economic doldrums, Ipswich is now the epicentre of a boom in southeast Queensland which is expected to see one million more people living in the region in the next 20 years.

Ipswich, southwest of Brisbane, is growing at the rate of 110 new residents every week, and the city’s current population of 170,000 will increase to 435,000 in 20 years.

“The rejuvenation of Ipswich city heart will be one of the most significant in the state for many years,” Mr Tully said in a statement.

He said the centre was perfectly positioned for technology-based businesses and would be well served by current and future high-speed broadband from several providers.

“Redevelopment plans also call for a 21st century approach to the provision of internet and computer networking connectivity,” Mr Tully said.



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