Leighton Properties’ massive development work continues on the old Ipswich City Square site on the corner of Brisbane and Bell Sts in the heart of the city.
Leighton Properties’ massive development work continues on the old Ipswich City Square site on the corner of Brisbane and Bell Sts in the heart of the city. Rob Williams

Developers eye off big retailers

DEVELOPERS are closing in on an announcement for major retailers for the landmark Icon Ipswich development in the city heart.

The Ipswich City Square redevelopment on the corner of Brisbane and Bell Sts has been called the biggest renewal in Ipswich's history.

The $1 billion rebirth of the city centre started with the demolition of the old building.

That set minds back to 1985 and the firey destruction of Reids department store that stood on the site for almost 130 years.

It also signalled to Ipswich residents that they should get used to the sight of cranes and massive machinery in the CBD.

The first stage of developer Leighton Properties' Icon Ipswich project is a nine-storey office tower.

The tower, which contains 18,000sqm of office space and 200 car parks, was sold to property fund manager Cromwell for $93 million.

The ultimate multi-stage reconstruction will span four CBD blocks, incorporating 170,000sqm of commercial, retail, residential and public space.

A Leighton Properties spokeswoman said the developer was on the verge of announcing tenants for Icon Ipswich.

"We are currently working on a strategy to approach tenants for the commercial precinct within our Icon Ipswich development and anticipate on making an announcement regarding this within the next two months," the spokeswoman said.

Demolition of the old Ipswich City Square has mostly been demolished and gantries and site hoarding have been put up around the site.

At its public launch, Leighton Properties managing director Mark Gray said Cromwell's purchase showed the confidence in the Icon project.

"Once completed, the Icon Ipswich master plan will restore the CBD as the pre-eminent commercial, civic and cultural centre for Ipswich and the western heartland," Mr Gray said.

Add the planned Coles superstore just down the road and the extent of Ipswich's makeover is even more obvious.

"The first development will be completed in 2013 with other individual developments being planned and developed progressively," Ipswich City Properties chairman Paul Tully said.

"The entire project could take up to 20 years to be completely developed but it should be substantially completed in the next 10 years or so."