CONSTRUCTION has started on an $85 million development which will bring more than 100 jobs to Ipswich.
By the end of next year, the former Bremer State High School site will become home to a new residential area, shopping centre and parkland.
Ipswich City Council joined with developers Citimark and Hutchinson Builders for the ground breaking of the Silkstone urban renewal project yesterday.
"This is a very important occasion for Ipswich (and we're) excited by this," mayor Paul Pisasale said.
"Not only are there hundreds of jobs created during construction, there will also be retail jobs created once the shopping centre opens so this will be great for young people.
"Council bought the site for one main reason - we wanted to protect the sporting fields.
"We want to make sure we create not only a great destination with retail shopping and somewhere to live, but also somewhere with sporting fields so as far as I'm concerned it's a partnership built in heaven.
"We've got someone who is going to produce something fantastic for the community."
Private property group Citimark are developing the 14ha site which will see a 4,950sqm neighbourhood shopping centre including a Coles supermarket, shopping mall, food court and central garden-themed atrium be built atthe site on the corner of Grange and Blackstone Rds.
The development is also set to include a 140 lot housing subdivision known as Silkstone Residences with lots ranging from 185sqm to 500sqm as well as six hectares of parkland and sporting grounds.
Citimark joint managing director Angus Johnson said more than 75% of the first residential stage had sold since the development approval was secured earlier this year.
"Following months of preparation we've begun the construction phase on what is one of the most significant residential projects underway in Silkstone," he said.
"It is a key part of the suburb's wider rejuvenation and transformation."
Builders Urbane Homes and QNV Constructions have been appointed to construct the residential element, with Hutchinson Builders awarded the shopping centre contract.