12 November 2011

Our sale of the century

A NINE-STOREY office tower tipped to kick-start Ipswich's CBD renewal has netted $93 million.

Artist impression of the $93 million office tower to be built at the corner of Brisbane and Bell Sts.

A NINE-STOREY office tower tipped to kick-start Ipswich's CBD renewal has netted $93 million.

Yet to be built, the planned office building on the corner of Bell St and Brisbane St was sold to property fund manager Cromwell.

Developer Leighton Properties described the sale as the Queensland's biggest transaction for office space outside Brisbane.

Cr Pisasale said it was a vote of confidence in Ipswich City Council's decision to purchase the Ipswich City Square precinct for $45 million three years ago.

"Our vision for the city is not to look like Brisbane - we will not be a city of high rises," Cr Pisasale said. "We will embrace the Bremer River and Riverlink and the mall will be part of the one CBD."

When complete, the building is to be occupied by about 1200 state public servants, with underground car parking and retail businesses on ground level.

Ipswich City Properties chairman Paul Tully said such an early sale was not unusual for this type of development.

"It's a pretty good," he said.

"This is a confidence-boost for us actually," Cr Tully said.

"There's a degree of certainty about our plans for the CBD, but who would have ever thought this could happen in Ipswich?

"We are ecstatic about it."

Cr Tully said the city was on target to break even on its initial investment by 2016.

After that, any profits made from the CBD renewal will go back into the city.

When asked about unoccupied office space elsewhere in the CBD, he said he believed the interest stirred up through the sale of the Bell St tower would encourage other businesses to come to Ipswich.

"Success breeds success," he said.

"At this point I would rather have an oversupply of office space than an undersupply."

Providing about 18,000sq m of office space, the building is the first of three office towers planned for a revitalised Ipswich.

As part of the $1 billion renewal project, council is also planning to further develop the Riverheart Parklands.

Leighton Properties commercial head Andrew Borger said the history-making sale showed the quality of the project

"The long-term lease of the entire commercial component of the office tower from the State Government has also sent a resounding message that Ipswich is a growth city of the future," Mr Borger said.

Construction will begin next month.


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