Construction phase underway in CBD

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Ipswich CBD

Following years of planning, long delays, redesign and demolition work construction of the redeveloped Ipswich CBD is finally underway, with Hutchinson Builders moving on site to construct the new Ipswich City Council administration building, new library and civic plaza.
In June, Hutchinson Builders were selected as the preferred tenderer for the $140 million contract, the biggest in council history. Hutchinson will also upgrade the existing car park, finalise works on Nicholas Street and Union Place and Bremer Street traffic ramps. About 200 workers will work on the project over the next 12 to 24 months.
Interim Administrator Greg Chemello said works to reinstate Nicholas Street are ahead of schedule, with contractor JMAC Constructions starting the second phase of the road construction and landscaping. He welcomed the next step of the Ipswich Central upgrade.
“It’s exciting for everyone involved in this project and hopefully for a community that has been waiting years, probably a decade or more, for this redevelopment,” he said.
“Council officers have assessed every aspect of the project to ensure ratepayers get the best value possible.”
The protracted process of planning, revised planning, contract negotiations and deciding on the final works strategy has impacted adversely on businesses in the CBD, with most businesses suffering from the long delays – and most exiting what is now a construction zone.
This situation was made worse with the sacking of the Council in mid-2018.
Mr Chemello said he acknowledged that the redevelopment had been a long time coming, but that it was important to ensure that all issues were addressed so that the project would finally become a reality.
The Nicholas Street road works are set for completion by Easter next year, the new library is expected to be open by mid-2020 and the council administration centre by mid-2021.
Mr Chemello said council aims to attract even more businesses, prepare for the growth of the healthcare sector, and better support businesses located in our city’s heart.
“Our leasing team is in discussions with more than 20 possible tenants for the retail, entertainment and food and beverage buildings owned by council. The plan is to refurbish these buildings before leasing them to new tenants and selling them to the private sector,” he said.
While the construction phase of the project is finally underway, the next challenge will be to restore business and community confidence in Ipswich generally. Judging by community and business commentary on the future of Ipswich, this is historically the city’s lowest point, with long road ahead for the current administration and the new Council to be elected in May 2020.
Photo above: Hutchinson Builders Construction Manager Chris Stevenson and Ipswich Interim Administrator Greg Chemello turn the first sod in the Ipswich CBD.