WANTED: Fancy restaurants to move in to redeveloped mall

WHITE linen, champagne flutes and fish forks could be the new norm when the derelict Ipswich Mall is redeveloped.

Restaurateurs looking to be a part of the new 'food experience' in the mall are invited to come forward to show what they can offer the city foodies.

Expressions of interest are open to businesses offering everything from white linen to 'grab and go' food options which will take shape when the new-look mall is revealed in 2019. It is expected the successful business will be revealed in time for Christmas next year however exactly how many new stores will take up the space won't be clear until potential candidates start to come forward.

The configuration of the space may change depending on the kinds of restaurants looking to move in.

Ipswich City Properties chairman Cr Paul Tully said the objective was to provide 'diverse' dining options in the Ipswich CBD.

"At this time we have issued the expressions of interest to see what interest there is from the market and will look to find the most complementary businesses that will offer the best options for the people of Ipswich," Cr Tully said.

"After the expressions of interest process, there will be a tender process.

"This will take some time, but our target is to be able to announce in the second half of 2018 when the mall reconstruction has progressed." The proposed food experience building is between the old Bottle Alley and next to the proposed site for the new library on Nicholas St.

The most recent Ipswich City Centre Master Plan shows the food and beverage experience will have two levels with balconies, an outdoor terrace and alfresco dining.

Cr Tully said the council was not looking for specific kinds of restaurants to take up the space and any food business owners could apply.

"As part of our mandate, Ipswich City Properties emphasises support of local businesses, however not all offerings are available in Ipswich at this time, so there will likely be a combination of both local and non-Ipswich based entities to provide the diversity required," he said.

"This will be assessed when all the returns have been received to ensure the most complementary make up of providers." Other parts of the Ipswich CBD are already leading the way in innovative and fresh food destinations with the likes of Ungermann Brothers Ice Cream Parlour on Limestone St opening by the end of the year and American burger giant Carl's Jnr Burger opening at West Ipswich in the coming months.

Heavy machinery moved into the mall in June to begin the demolition works and to date, the old Woolworths supermarket, rotunda and parts of the Bremer River end of the mall have been knocked down.

The rotunda which was once a fixture of the mall will stay in council storage until its final future home is decided.

Buildings around Murphy's Town Pub are gone and work on the site of the future Ipswich City Council building is finished.



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