Greg Chemello and Phillip Bell talk about mall tenders and CBD development.
Greg Chemello and Phillip Bell talk about mall tenders and CBD development. Cordell Richardson

Council's grand vision for 'demoralising' Ipswich mall

THE cost of closing Ipswich City Properties, the company responsible for the Ipswich CBD development, is unknown by the council.

After deliberations, administrator Greg Chemello announced this week ICP would close - leaving Ipswich City Council with the responsibility of developing the CBD.

"The grand vision of this is to create a new civic cultural, community heart for the City of Ipswich," he said.

Mr Chemello acknowledged the cost of transitioning the company's operations back to the council was yet to be understood.

"I don't know the exact cost of winding up ICP," he said.

"There'll be some transaction costs but ICP and council have commercial relationships that need to be wound up."

The council is expected to ask the State Government for an exemption to stamp duty.

"There will be some administrative costs winding up the company, there might be some stamp duty issues - we know that there'll be some costs associated with the mechanics of closing down the company," Mr Chemello said.

"When you're looking at a project of this scale with the transparency we needed for the community, I made the decision last week that it's better to make it more transparent and the costs of winding up are quite minuscule."

Mr Chemello, a supporter of council-owned companies, said ICP was designed for "a commercial property proposition", no longer required.

He said the council's library and administration centre would frame the development but said the scope of the retail and entertainment precinct "needs more thought".

"It won't be a major shopping centre," he said.

Ipswich Chamber of Commerce president Phillip Bell said the last thing the city needed to do was "put retailers into a space they struggle to be successful".

"It's important to acknowledge and complement the existing retailers on the other side of the river," he said.

"I look forward to overlooking modern water features from one of the new restaurants which are expected to line Union Place."

Mr Chemello said people wanted to be able to see progress on the development.

"It's demoralising for the residents to see the mall in this kind of condition," he said.

"Yes things are bad now in terms of business, things will be difficult during construction as well but that's an entirely different world of difficulty for them, they can see the end of the day."

A tender to stabilise and renovate Murphy's Pub has been awarded to James Trowse - the company responsible for the renovation of the general post office building in Fortitude Valley.

When it's finished the pub will again be known as the Commonwealth Hotel.

Next week a tender will be awarded to build a road connecting Nicholas and Bell St via Union Place.

Work on those two projects will begin within weeks.

Ipswich City Properties is expected to take several months to close.

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