Years of neglect dragged city down
THE decline in Ipswich's central retail area began when Reids department store, formerly Cribb and Foote, burnt down in 1985.
Situated on the corner of Bell and Brisbane streets, the building, along with TC Beirne's central Ipswich store, was an integral part of the city's retail history.
It was regarded as the heart of the CBD and its demise led to shoppers leaving the mall, with suburban shopping centres taking a share of retail dollars away from Ipswich.
The mall was opened in 1987 after a major demoli- tion project following the loss of Reids.
But the new CBD precinct did not have the same pulling power as it once did.
Recognising the decline, Ipswich City Council set up a new business, Ipswich City Properties (ICP), to purchase the mall in 2009 with a $45 million State Government loan.
In October 2009, ICP set out on a nationwide press campaign calling for major companies to redevelop Ipswich City Square shopping complex.
In March this year Alba Capital Partners Limited and Leighton Properties were short-listed to redevelop the mall, with the latter soon emerging as the preferred partner for ICP.
Leighton Properties executive director Andrew Borger said the city's boom- ing population will see the redeveloped mall attract major retail investors.