BCC Cinema Ipswich.
BCC Cinema Ipswich. Cordell Richardson

Council plans for future of old cinemas building in CBD

STRONG interest has been shown from several businesses eager to move into the old Birch Carroll & Coyle cinema building, Ipswich City Council has revealed.

The concrete-panel building has sat empty since the cinemas closed in May this year.

Ipswich City Council's coordination and performance general manager Sean Madigan said the council was considering its investment options.

He said the council may refurbish the building as part of the greater CBD works under way in Nicholas St and Union Place.

"There has been strong interest from a number of potential anchor tenants in relation to the building and council is confident of securing once council determines its strategy for the building," Mr Madigan said.

Discussions were held between Birch Carroll & Coyle, Ipswich City Properties and Ipswich City Council in late 2017 about refurbishing the building.

It is understood the council - under then-mayor Andrew Antoniolli - was considering upgrading the building and including a bowling alley; an investment that was tipped to result in the cinemas renewing the lease.

Mr Madigan responded to questions about why the upgrade was scrapped.

"The refurbishment was not undertaken at the time as council was in the process of developing a business case to determine the most appropriate way to invest public monies in the CBD precinct," he said.

"This business case is close to being finalised and will be the basis upon which council will determine how best to optimise the return on investment of funds into the precinct as a whole."

The one-way Nicholas St is expected to be open before Easter 2020.

The council's administration building will be finished in 2021, before West Moreton Health takes over the existing centre.