Turning tide on river aspect for local diners
A NEW dining precinct in Riverlink will be at the heart of Ipswich, embracing the Bremer River.
The shopping centre is set to feature a new dining precinct and yesterday developers and council wined and dined dozens of restaurateurs.
With construction on the Riverlink Cinemas due to be completed by the end of the year, centre owners Leda Holdings and the Ipswich City Council are set on attracting restaurants to complete the development.
The centre will see the strip of shops along the river on the Riverlink East building, currently empty, set aside for a restaurant precinct.
Seven eateries will be built along the river as part of a plan by the council and the shopping centre to better embrace the river.
Mayor Paul Pisasale said the precinct was part of Ipswich embracing the river as the centre of the CBD.
"This area is the best kept secret in Australia," he said.
"Today is all about letting the restaurateurs know this is here and to get them interested."
Mr Pisasale praised the work done by Leda Holdings to keep developing Riverlink and attract customers to the centre of town.
He dismissed criticism Riverlink had pulled customers away from the CBD, saying both sides of the river should be considered part of the same business area.
"If Riverlink hadn't been built or it was built in Yamanto the CBD would be completely dead," he said.
"Both sides of the centre of town should be embracing the river.
"All the world's great cities embrace their rivers and this dining precinct is part of that for Ipswich."
Leda Holdings CEO Bob Ell said the restaurants and cinema were part of an entertainment precinct that marked the next step for Riverlink.
He said work had already begun on landscaping the northern riverbank with an amphitheatre already in place and other parts of the river next in line.
The cinema development under construction is set to be opened before the end of the year.
It will be run by Limelight Cinemas and feature eight cinemas, made up of six budget and two premium level cinemas.
Cr Pisasale said the new complex would provide much-needed competition for the existing Event Cinemas in the mall, and prevent people from driving to cinemas in Brisbane.
"This will keep business in Ipswich and stop people travelling out of town to spend their money," he said.
"This is about Ipswich coming of age."