A LITTLE bit of New Farm is heading to the Top of Town as the $7 million Circa 160 project takes shape.

A German beer cafe, a health food store and a coffee roasting business are among the boutique businesses planned to open in the centre in the coming months.

More professional offices and services are to open within weeks with the owners telling the QT the centre was already 90% leased.

Inner city councillor Andrew Antoniolli met with Top of Town traders and landlords last month to establish a stakeholders group that will deliver a concept design for the Top of Town to revitalise the heritage precinct.

Sammut Bulow partners Brad Bulow and Martin Sammut in their new office in the renovated former Big Whites building. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Sammut Bulow partners Brad Bulow and Martin Sammut in their new office in the renovated former Big Whites building. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

Circa 160, developed by the partners of Sammut Bulow accountants, is set to transform a historic 80m stretch of Brisbane St frontage including the old Big White furniture building, the Ipswich Electric Light Company building and warehouse, which became Better Electrical, and two neighbouring shopfronts.

Developer Martin Sammut said the 5400sq m site featured a village plaza design with an arcade and laneway from Brisbane St and 50 car parks to the back of the development from Limestone St feeding into a central courtyard that will feature a beer garden and coffee bars.

"I had the vision of bringing that New Farm style of development to Ipswich where you have businesses all trading stand alone but part of the streetscape," Mr Sammut said.

Part of the Circa 160 development and renovation of the former Big Whites building. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Part of the Circa 160 development and renovation of the former Big Whites building. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

He said the building works created a rustic, industrial feel and highlighted the heritage of the century-old buildings with exposed brickwork, exposed rafters, beams and arches and the huge colonial windows and ceilings have been restored to the original height.

"We've tried to link some of the old and new," Mr Sammut said.

Circa 160 will feature a health food store and cafe and ithink Property fronting Brisbane St, an allied health professions business and a dentist alongside Tranquillity Hair and Beauty, McMillan, Kelly and Thomas Lawyers, the offices of Sammut Bulow accountants and Worrells.

Work has started on a possible German Beer Cafe in the Circa 160 development of the former Big Whites building. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Work has started on a possible German Beer Cafe in the Circa 160 development of the former Big Whites building. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

Mr Sammut said they were in negotiations with a coffee roasting business to open in the renovated Ipswich Electric Light Company warehouse to the back of the site.

He said builders were working on the interior fit out for a German beer cafe and restaurant, due to open in three to five months.

Cr Antoniolli said the council had been approached to refine the vision it established 25 years ago, looking at traffic, parking and the types of businesses in the precinct.

"It is 23 years since the Top of Town precinct received its last facelift and that was developed on a vision to establish a heritage-style precinct so we are looking at what is the next step for the Top of Town," Cr Antoniolli said.

The new Sammut Bulow office in the Circa 160 development and renovation of the former Big Whites building. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
The new Sammut Bulow office in the Circa 160 development and renovation of the former Big Whites building. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

"It is one of the most pristine circa 1900 streetscapes in Queensland.

"What it has going for it is this unique heritage opportunity, almost reminiscent of some of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and the outer suburbs of those community's street frontages.

"The Top of Town could become Ipswich's version of Adelaide's Rundle Street East, a real eclectic collection of fashion, dining and shopping experience and a precinct that has a different day life to a nightlife to a weekend atmosphere.

"It also has the opportunity to be a great events space for the future."