01 October 2010

Countdown on for rebirth of Ipswich CBD

EYES TO FUTURE: Cr Paul Tully and Mayor Paul Pisasale
looking over the Ipswich Mall and CBD.
Stuart Sherwin | 1st October 2010
THE people of Ipswich will get their first look at the future of their CBD next month – and Mayor Paul Pisasale is sure they will be impressed.
Crunch talks have now begun between city leaders and developers Leighton Properties to thrash out the final details of the $2b renaissance of the city's heart.
The city council set up Ipswich City Properties (ICP) in 2008 to purchase the Ipswich City Square centre with a $45 million State Government loan.
Since then ICP has been working to attract more shops to the neglected CBD while drawing up plans for a massive redevelopment of the area.
Leighton Properties has now been named as its "preferred" partner in the project and contract negotiations are reaching their final, key stages.
Cr Pisasale said his recent tour of development projects and high-tech firms in the USA would shape the talks with Leighton Properties.
"The US trip was so valuable because we are now able to put things in the contract that would have been disastrous if we hadn't," he told The Queensland Times.
"Our city has to grow, be green and be smart and we were able to see in the States how we could do that.
"We were going to have a good CBD. Now we are going to have a great one because we have seen what the future is."
Seven members of ICP took part in the US visit, which included stops in California, Indiana, Chattanooga, Washington DC and New York.
Cr Paul Tully said ICP was on track to pay back its $45m loan by 2015 at no cost to the ratepayers of Ipswich.
The two councillors remain tight-lipped over the details of the proposed CBD, but it is understood it will include major residential, retail, business and entertainment centres.
Cr Pisasale said significant changes to public transport were also likely.
He said he was certain the city council had made the right decision to take over Ipswich City Square.
"The city council has taken a massive gamble, but we had no choice," he said.
"If we hadn't acted, Ipswich would have ended up becoming a ghost town."

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