$20.65M sale cements future of Ipswich health precinct
FOUR buildings in the heart of Ipswich are set to be redeveloped as West Moreton Health furthers its plans to transform the city’s health precinct.
It comes after West Moreton Health officials on Friday revealed it had acquired the South Street sites from Ipswich City Council for a whopping $20.65 million.
The WG Hayden Humanities Centre, the Hayden Centre and the Ipswich Global Information Centre – which houses the Interim Children’s Library – are among the sites to be sold.
Property Foote Lane and Limestone Street will also be repurposed under the plan.
Properties are set to be handed over to West Moreton Health in September this year following the conclusion of a $2 million business case study.
West Moreton Hospital and Health Board Chair Michael Willis said the acquisition came as part of the State Government’s masterplan to expand Ipswich’s health services.
“We took a view, the board, a few years ago that we need to do some planning not just for health services and their in needs in our community now, but the planning forward to the next ten to twenty years,” he said.
“Most of these buildings [purchased] are not clinically-purpose built so their value in that sense will have to be assessed.”
The region’s population is expected to double to 587,000 by 2036.
Mr Willis said while specific plans for the sites were yet to be confirmed, additional hospital parking for staff, patients and loved ones would be priority.
“There’s a range of options that the team are exploring that could include day surgery, rehabilitation facilities, it could even include a research centre,” he said.
“We’re looking at perhaps moving some facilities that don’t need to be in the core hospital tower to [the new sites], such as office and administration services, that sort of thing.”
Mr Willis said the number of jobs expected to come as result would be significant.
The exact figure, however, had yet to be determined.
“As the hospital grows our clinical capability will grow, we will become a tertiary hospital with higher skill needs and service capacity for the community,” he said.
Mayor Teresa Harding welcomed the sale, saying it was an important milestone for the city.
“The increased Queensland Health presence in the city centre will bring more jobs, growth and investment,” she said.
“It will bring people to the CBD and bring life back to the shops and business community.
Cr Harding said funds from the sale would be distributed to the city center's revamp.
“The entire amount of money will go toward the CBD redevelopment, obviously [the buildings sold] are Council buildings, so [funds] will go toward other Council buildings.”
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