THE revival of the heart of the Ipswich CBD is full steam ahead with four expressions of interest received to construct a $150 million retail hub.
The next phase of the redevelopment of the Ipswich City Square shopping complex will see almost 30,000 square metres of new retail, entertainment and dining outlets that Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale says will "give customers sweeping views over River Heart Parklands and open the mall to face the Bremer River".
The retail project will see the Woolworths supermarket relocated and replaced with an indoor and outdoor entertainment terrace overlooking River Heart Parklands, and a new direct link to the Bradfield pedestrian bridge.
MAKING HEADLINES TODAY ...
Ipswich City Properties chairman Paul Tully said the development would include a two-level complex with cinemas relocated from Brisbane Street, a discount department store and relocated supermarket and specialty stores to be potentially constructed over the historic rail line to North Ipswich extending to Ellenborough Street.
"Once contracts are secured, the estimated timeframe for construction is 18 months," Cr Tully said.
He said having four key expressions of interest was good for the city and a vote of confidence in the city by external parties.
"We are confident that we will be able to do a deal with one of those four," he said.
"It is good for Ipswich, good for the western corridor and good for the people of Ipswich."
Cr Tully said the development would "make the mall and the city a very vibrant area".
"What we want to do is bring people back to the CBD," he said.
Ipswich City Properties Pty Ltd was incorporated with Queensland Government approvals with the express intention of bringing the vision for the revitalisation of the Ipswich city heart under the Ipswich Regional Centre Strategy into reality.
A $1 billion program to transform and revitalise Ipswich city centre was then announced in 2009.
"The most important thing about a city like Ipswich is to have a centre that is the heart," Cr Pisasale said
"I remember 10 years ago, no one was interested in the development of Ipswich or investing in our city, so the only way we could get people interested was to take an active role ourselves.
"That is why we set up Ipswich City Properties. It was one of the smartest things we have ever done.
"We have changed the image of the city right around and now people see Ipswich as a great regional centre."
ICP bought the Ipswich CBD for $45 million and Cr Tully said that "slowly but surely we are redeveloping it".
"The Icon Tower was the first development and that was sold for $93 million to a superannuation fund," he said. "Over the next 15 years, we will see the entire CBD rebuilt."
MAKING HEADLINES TODAY ...
Pick out the stores you'd like to see
WE ASKED QT readers: What shops would you like to see in the revamped Ipswich Mall?
These were some of the responses:
Cara Casey - "No more junk food shops!!! How about something healthy. Raw Energy are expanding now! This would be lovely."
Kylie Ballard - "How about an Apple store as a lot of people have Apple iPads and iPhones, and the nearest store is at Chermside, which is way too far to get anything under warranty and insurance."
Naomi Steinhardt - "A Max Brenner or Starbucks would be awesome!!"
Kristeen Paul Delbridge - "I think Ipswich is in need of some new restaurants. Something like Montezuma's Mexican. And (I'd) have to say Ikea would also be great. Some big-name stores would bring more people in to the mall."
Davina Johnson - "Dusk and a Lush shop would be great."
Joseph Theaker - "Tackle World, or Anaconda camping outdoors shop."
Natalieghia Springall - "A family gym. Like a kids fit gym were you can take your kids and have fun and get fit at the same time."
Sylvia Hayden Imhof - "Mexican and Turkish restaurants. A cafe that's open late nights and weekends (none of this closing early stuff). Love the skydeck eatery idea that was suggested earlier."
Paula Wright - "A Paleo restaurant."
Kylie Ballard - "An Oporto would be nice."
Jonathan Betten - "I know what I don't want... methadone clinics and probation and parole nearby. But on topic, Ipswich needs restaurants and not just cafes or coffee shops that sell meals on the side.
Max Brenner, Carolina Kitchen, Mexican (Pepe's maybe?), Italian...."