Billionaire developer and Leda Holdings chairman Bob Ell.
Billionaire developer and Leda Holdings chairman Bob Ell.

Billionaire behind new ‘retro’ entertainment precinct

ONE of Australia’s richest men and the operator of Riverlink Shopping Centre is behind a new entertainment precinct for Ipswich that promises to be a “retro” good time.

Leda Holdings chairman Bob Ell, who operates the North Ipswich shopping complex, is linked to the new recreation hub on the banks of the Bremer River.

Ipswich City Council approved a development application from Lipoma Pty Ltd, which trades as Ipswich Riverlink Shopping Centre.

An entertainment precinct will be built on vacant land at W M Hughes Street near the North Ipswich Railway Workshops complex.

Mr Ell’s net worth is valued at $1.4 billion by Forbes.

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The facility will include two drive-in movie theatres, an outdoor putt-putt course, two basketball courts, a climbing wall, arcade, kiosk, dining court, heritage plaza and playground.

Construction is expected to begin early next year.

Town planning company Planit Consultants helped design the project.

Director Boyd Sargeant said it would transform a vacant property into a vibrant entertainment and outdoor recreation hub for the city that it was lacking.

An entertainment precinct on the banks of the Bremer River has been approved by Ipswich City Council.
An entertainment precinct on the banks of the Bremer River has been approved by Ipswich City Council.

“The property is surrounded by a strong residential community, the nearby Riverlink Shopping Centre and sits close to schools and industrial sites,” he said.

“The area has really been crying out for better recreational facilities and this precinct will enhance the lifestyles of the people in the local community.”

Mr Sargeant said drive-in movie theatres were enjoying a resurgence in popularity across Australia during COVID-19.

“Drive-ins are, I suppose, a retro-type throwback and it was appropriate then to theme around the nostalgia of those types of uses,” he said.

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“Putt-putt golf is another example of an older style attraction that is regaining plenty of attention in the current era.

“(The site) is completely vacant and earthworks have largely already been done.

“This type of use is another piece of the puzzle for Ipswich in that central area.

“I just think it’s going to be another great destination and in that location it will be perfect for revitalising a vacant site.”

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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