When completed, Nicholas Street will be a new destination for the people of Ipswich and beyond to visit, interact with, and enjoy. In addition, the precincts surrounding the project – the areas known as Top of Town, Riverlink, North Ipswich Reserve, a medical precinct, and Queens Park – are each crucial to the ongoing development and success of Ipswich Central. NOW All the major decisions regarding the redevelopment have been made and adopted. The ongoing challenge is to deliver on the strategy and decisions. Community members can (finally) expect a bustling city heart after construction is completed in 18 months’ time. They can expect a thriving food and beverage precinct with nationally-recognised brands, an active entertainment precinct, greater linkages with retail shopping at Riverlink, and restaurants and other businesses in Top of Town. Council staff can expect contemporary premises from which to better serve the residents and ratepayers of Ipswich. They will have new and modern ways of working which will lead to greater efficiency and productivity. The incoming mayor and councillors can expect a precinct – inclusive of the council chambers – which is publicly accessible, vibrant, and a true civic heart for Ipswich. IPSWICH CENTRAL MASTERPLAN The redevelopment of Nicholas Street provides Ipswich City Council with an opportunity to develop a masterplan for the entirety of the Ipswich Central precinct. The plan will set an agenda for economic and social prosperity, drive jobs growth within the city’s central hub, and provide significant opportunities for growth. In 2020, council will work with the community and key stakeholders to create the Ipswich Central Masterplan. It will initiate place-making and activation plans for the CBD across the river to North Ipswich, west to the industrial precinct in West Ipswich, south to the Ipswich Showgrounds and east to Queens Park.
Leasing experts were contracted by council to market the redeveloped sites to retail, commercial and entertainment businesses wishing to establish in Ipswich Central. This campaign is well underway with, at this stage, some 30% of council’s space under negotiation with various businesses including a mix of local business and nationally-known brands. Local businesses and stakeholders were regularly engaged. Quarterly updates were provided to Ipswich CBD property owners and business operators on progress. A small dedicated team of staff was established to liaise directly with local businesses during construction. Weekly email updates were provided to interested parties. A pilot Façade Improvement Incentive Program has been launched to encourage property owners and local businesses to invest in the facades of their premises. Grants of up to $15,000 (offered on a dollar for dollar basis) will be made available to interested business, with $100,000 available through this pilot initiative. Other attractions are set to include a public art programs, events and activations within the civic space. After a competitive tender process, JMAC were appointed as the council’s construction manager for the new-look shared access Nicholas Street and Union Place. A separate tender process resulted in Hutchinson Builders being appointed as council’s construction manager for the civic precinct and the retail, commercial and entertainment buildings. In its totality, the redevelopment will include a new- look shared-use mall, one way vehicle access along Nicholas Street and Union Place, two major new council libraries (for adult and children), new nine storey council administration building and customer service centre with meeting rooms bookable by community organisations, and a civic plaza larger than Brisbane’s King George Square and as big as Melbourne’s Federation Square. Stage one – the opening of a new and improved Nicholas Street – has been completed. The fencing has been taken down, and Nicholas Street traders and shoppers have had their first glimpse of what the new Nicholas Street precinct will provide the city. Stage two – the opening of the main library and civic space – is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020. Stage three – the opening of a new council building – is set to be completed in late 2021.