EXCLUSIVE: Blow for Ipswich CBD with cinemas set to close
BIRCH Carroll and Coyle will close its Ipswich City Square cinema, blaming a tough retail environment and looming mall redevelopment for the shock closure.
The QT can reveal the Ipswich City Square cinema will close mid-2019, with staff informed of the news this afternoon.
A spokesman for Birch Carroll and Coyle confirmed the company had made the "incredibly difficult decision" to permanently close the cinemas.
The national entertainment company will not renew its lease with Ipswich City Properties for the Brisbane St site.
"We have been part of the community for over 50 years, and this decision was not made lightly.
"Due to the declining retail environment in the CBD, coupled with the impending mall refurbishment and the huge disruption this will cause during the two-year construction phase, we have chosen not to continue our lease."
A final closure date is yet to be confirmed.
The six-screen mall cinema is one of Birch Carroll and Coyle's smaller sites.
Management is expected to work with affected staff, who may be transferred to the Springfield cinemas; also owned by Event group.
"We are committed to reinvesting in our other venues in the region - including Event Cinemas Springfield which opened in 2016, and will continue to bring customers the latest blockbusters and movies from around the globe, along with festivals and special events from the worlds of music, theatre, arts, sport and e-sport," the spokesman said.
"Our promise to provide exceptional movie experiences in the region is stronger than ever and we truly appreciate the community's ongoing loyalty and support."
The closure of the cinema - an anchor tenant - is a blow to CBD revitalisation efforts.
What is planned for the cinema building is unknown.
In December last year then mayor Andrew Antoniolli was in discussions to build a bowling alley in the CBD; believed to be in the cinema building.
Ipswich City Properties - the council-owned company responsible for managing mall leases and luring businesses - will be closed.
A spokesman for Ipswich City Council said a confidentiality clause meant details about the cinema contract could not be discussed.
"The current lease between Ipswich City Properties and Birch Carroll and Coyle is a commercial-in-confidence, legally binding agreement between the two parties as lessor and lessee and contains a confidentiality clause," he said.
"ICP is therefore precluded under the terms of the lease from making any disclosure to any third parties in relation to the agreed commercial or other terms of the document.
"Council, regardless of its decision to close ICP next year, is bound by this confidentiality provision."
Birch Carroll and Coyle cinema company has long links to Ipswich.
The Carroll family owned a home at Goodna, which was the location of the first ever screening by the company.
It was built in the early 1900s by the parents of Edward Carroll, who was later one of the partners of the well-known cinema company.