Traders can't wait for CBD changes
BOB Slater has seen plenty of ups and downs in his 22 years of running a business in the Ipswich Mall.
The Discount Drug Store owner, who was also in Bell Street for nine years before moving to the mall, believes the upcoming changes to the CBD are a godsend for the area.
Mr Slater, who is also the Ipswich CBD Traders Advisory Group chair, said the billion- dollar development would rejuvenate a mall which had become increasingly stagnant.
Even knowing he will be turfed from his current premises has not dampened his optimism for the future of the city's retail heart.
“We'll have to move, but that's life with shopping centres; they go through growth and they go through decline,” Mr Slater said.
“It's been in decline for a very long time. I want to be here for the long-term in the new development.
“I didn't sit here for this long not to enjoy the good times.”
Birch Carroll and Coyle Ipswich City Cinemas general manager Chris Costello said the creation of dining and entertainment areas will attract more people to the area.
“The most exciting part for me is the great plans for alfresco dining, as well as residential high-rises; that can only help businesses,” he said.
“I think the whole redevelopment is good news for everyone here, especially for the retailers who have been part of the area for some time.
“It's given local business people a lot of hope.”
Neil Crabb, who with his wife Jan owns the Steam Espresso Bar in the CBD, said he was happy the Ipswich City Council was proactive in buying the area in the first place.
He backed the redevelopment to breathe new life into the CBD.
“I can't find a bad thing about it. You just wish they could open it up tomorrow,” Mr Crabb said.