Plans to transform upmarket hotel into aged care facility
METRO Hotel Ipswich could be transformed into an aged-care facility to meet the growing need for additional housing for the elderly.
An application was lodged this week with the Ipswich City Council to transform the nine-storey hotel on South St into a nursing home.
Under the material change of use proposal, the hotel would close and a residential care facility operated by Oracle Care.
The hotel's ground-floor cafe, bar and restaurant, wellness centre, beauty salon and function areas will be maintained for use by both residents and the public.
If the change is approved, residents are not likely to notice the difference at the building, with only a small alteration to its facade needed to accommodate an additional lift and internal alterations.
A total of 79 suites containing 99 beds will be available for older residents along with a communal dining room on each floor level.
"The proposal seeks to re-purpose the existing building for a residential care facility to meet community need for additional housing options for older persons in Ipswich," the application read.
In November 2011, the site was sold for $16million.
Division 7 Councillor David Martin stressed his "personal opinion" was to keep the site as a hotel.
"I think it's disappointing for Ipswich. We're trying to promote and attract tourism," he said.
Cr Martin said he could understand the attractiveness of the site for an aged care facility, but said the city already had a problem accommodating tourists during major events.
The West Moreton district had 1182 residential care places in 2016, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
There were 1.4 times as many aged care places across the nation in 2016 compared with 2006.
The Ipswich City Council will assess the application.