Nicholas Street is officially open for business.
The first visible part of the $150 million Ipswich CBD redevelopment has been completed and is now accessible to the public.
The remaining fences came down late Tuesday night and final touches, including furniture installation, were completed on Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s official opening.
Interim Administrator Greg Chemello said the timing, a few days before Christmas, was great news as Ipswich residents had an ideal opportunity to check it out during the holidays.
“Nicholas Street is now open, it looks great and we would encourage everyone to come down and have a look at what’s been achieved,” Mr Chemello said.
“We’d like to give a special thanks to the council contractors who’ve done such a great job in some pretty tough weather conditions, and thank you to the tenants too for being so patient.”
The opening of the precinct follows Ipswich City Council’s announcement this week to significantly improve the surrounding retail area with new cafes, restaurants, shops, cinema complex and even an indoor go kart track, and financially support a shop facade improvement program.
Mr Chemello said it would be an exciting prospect for Ipswich residents with an entertainment precinct set for Nicholas Street and a nearby civic space the size of Brisbane’s King George Square with more greenery.
Trottie Becke business owner Alexis Cornish said it was great to have the fences down and in the first few days she had noticed more foot traffic in the street and more customers in her shop spending money.
How Nicholas Street took shape:
- The road took about 12 months to build and is made up of about 43,000 pavers.
- The fencing was up for the year largely as a safety measure.
- The road is constructed of varying shades of grey granite, some of it imported from overseas.
- Granite was chosen because of its hardiness and durability, which is superior to pavers as they can crack more easily.
- The new trees in Nicholas Street were specifically chosen for their size. They will be able to grow their root balls into the size and shape of the planter boxes and will grow to 5-6m with a shade span of 5-6m.
- The trees going into the Civic Plaza will be more mature because the planter boxes are larger and again will be about 5-6m in height with a similar shade span.
- The new seating lights up at night with special lights installed underneath. These can be colour-coded to tie in with events in the precinct (they are currently programmed red and green to celebrate Christmas).
- The new garden beds have irrigation systems installed to ensure they get plenty of water during the extreme Ipswich summer.
- Traffic will eventually be allowed into Nicholas Street, but probably not until later next year.
Work is well underway on the library and civic plaza, both of which will open in October 2020, and the council administration building which is expected to open in mid-2021.
There has been considerable progress across the whole development in the past week, with 125 workers now on site.
On the administration building site:
- Concrete poured for lift and stair core
- Reinforcement work for next pour to basement 2
- Continue footing detail excavation and pile trimming to basement 3
- In ground drainage continued
On the civic plaza site:
- More concrete pours completed
- Poured pads for next two shear walls to existing car park
- Stair/lift at plaza level block work completed
- Stripped scaffolding to block wall of library east