Council offers businesses dollar for dollar incentive rebate
CITY business owners are being enticed to freshen up their shopfronts as the CBD redevelopment takes shape.
Ipswich City Council has committed $100,000 to a pilot "facade improvement incentive program" which is aimed at "sharpening up" the city centre in line with the Nicholas St works.
The council will offer a dollar-for-dollar matched incentive rebate for private businesses and property owners up to $15,000 per successful applicant.
Choices Flooring by Mallets owner Steve Mallet welcomed the initiative.
"Obviously nothing much has been done since 1985, it's been a while," he said.
"I think it's a great advantage for everyone to upgrade their shopfronts and add a bit more presentation in the top of town.
"A lot of them need to be done up. They're looking a bit ratty. Some have fallen down. A lot of us probably have asbestos ceilings still. I think it's a good chance to get rid of a lot of those and dress it up."
The business has been in its current location on Brisbane St for 15 years and Mr Mallet said business had grown every year, even as foot traffic declined due to the redevelopment.
"There's definitely been a fair bit of disruption to the centre of town" he said.
"I think we can all feel the excitement when the mall opens up to street traffic again in December. It will give people the advantage to have a look at it. There's going to be a lot of people that come in for a look, which brings more people into the town.
"It will come down to us then to do a little bit to our businesses to take advantage of the dressed up mall."
The initial pilot program is recommended to take in private commercial properties from the intersection of Brisbane St, Burnett St and Limestone St in the west to Limestone St and East St in the east to East St and Mansfield Pl in the north. Businesses and property owners on both sides of the boundary streets are eligible.
Interim administrator Greg Chemello said the council would begin creating the program this month and discuss it closely with landlords and tenants.
If successful, the council will consider expanding the program to include the broader Ipswich Central precinct.
"The appearance of the city's businesses and overall streetscapes makes an impact on perception, sentiment, visitation, commerce and investment," he said.
"The (program) is focused on a nucleus area of Ipswich Central which has arguably suffered the most direct and adverse effects of the protracted Nicholas Street Development.
"While the Nicholas Street redevelopment is now very much progressing, council believes there is an opportunity to stimulate wider investment and improvement by private business and property owners around the development area."
For expressions of interest, contact business@ipswich. qld.gov.au.