WATCH: Traders persist through tough times, wait almost over
IT WILL be at least nine more months before residents will see the newly opened Nicholas St precinct fully take shape.
Interim administrator said Ipswich City Council is in negotiations with businesses for a third of the council owned space in the civic precinct.
"This is the first transparent sign of the redevelopment of this urban precinct. We're well and truly under way," he said.
But he did reinforce the project will take time.
"People do need to be a little bit patient. In a retail sense the city needs to come alive again," Mr Chemello said.
The council has focused on securing food and entertainment tenants, with a development application already in place for a new cinema to replace the Birch Carol and Coyle cinema, and an indoor go kart track.
"It's an entertainment precinct … it's not a shopping centre, the shopping centre in the CBD is Riverlink - this is entertainment; retail, food and beverage," Mr Chemello said.
Original estimates of the precinct opening around Easter were conservative according to Mr Chemello.
"We're really happy to see this open before Christmas, but the real action happens (in about nine months) when the library and the plaza is open," he said.
"That plaza is about the size of King George Square (in Brisbane) and it's much greener … and it has a water feature."
The water feature is similar in size to the lagoon at Springfield, he said.
Mr Chemello did lament businesses in the CBD had suffered through the mall's redevelopment over the past 10 years.
"It's been a struggle for the businesses, there's been a number of businesses that have struggled for many years."
The precinct will be entirely managed by Ipswich City Council, with an external committee to advise on the retail and commercial aspects of the project.
Mr Chemello said it was unfair to put elected representatives in charge of the precinct and said Ipswich City Properties, the former management body for the CBD precinct has all been wound up as of June 30, however still legally exists.
Traders persist through tough times
TROTTIE Becke owner Alexis Cornish has moved all over the mall but couldn't be more pleased with her current spot - and the refurbishment.
"We think it's fabulous," she said.
"We've been in the premises here since January, we've been in the mall in various places for about 25 years all up."
She said it's great to see the fences down and the trees, 10 years on since promises and works began.
"I think this is the best I've seen the mall since I've been here and the shop we're in now,"
Ms Cornish said with a loyal customer base they've been able to weather the storm of the past 10 years, but had already seen an increase in patronage.
"Last Friday the first fences came down and people were just coming to take a look, we've been keeping up with our social media telling everyone about it," she said.
"It's nice to see things after 10 years of promises."
She also sought to allay concerns about safety in the CBD.
"Once all the fences come down and there's big open spaces it will feel a little bit safer but there are security cameras everywhere," Ms Cornish said.
"I don't think it was ever unsafe but people have the perception that it was."