Posted in Nicholas St News

What’s next for century-old Commonwealth Hotel

Ipswich City Council is seeking a principal contractor for reconstruction of the Commonwealth Hotel, also known as Murphy’s Town Pub.

The historic drinking spot will be restored to its former glory days, which date back more than a century.

In December 2019, council decided to invite competitive tenders from a list of suitably qualified contractors drawn from the Expression of Interest (EOI) process completed in 2017 for this same purpose.

Due to the time elapsed since this initial EOI process, the list is being supplemented with other suitably qualified contractors that may be currently available for the work.

Work is expected to begin in the next six months. It will include restoration of the historic façade along Union Street and reconstructing the earlier-removed building fabric, including walls and roof. The estimated cost of is between $1 million and $2 million and will be completed later this year.

A report to council detailed the current project status:

  • The western side of the existing façade has been deconstructed by Hutchinson Builders and Queensland Heritage Restoration.
  • The deconstructed façade and materials are temporarily stored in a council warehouse.
  • The foundation of the façade has been stabilised by James Trowse Qld Pty Ltd.
  • The remaining façade and building structure are temporarily propped on site.
  • A principal architect for this reconstruction work has been engaged.

Interim Administrator Greg Chemello said it was in the best interests of council and ratepayers to conduct the tender process this way, going back to those contractors who had previously expressed interest in the construction project and identifying any potentially new candidates.

Council is in negotiations with a small number of hotel operators to secure an experienced tenant/operator of the venue. As part of the tenancy agreement, the hotel operator will undertake the detailed fit-out of the building and make it ready for re-opening as an functional hotel.

“The Commonwealth Hotel, perhaps better known as Murphy’s, has played a significant part in the history of Ipswich and we are delighted to get this project underway,” he said.

“It is definitely not an easy task. The original hotel was deconstructed piece by piece to preserve this valuable historical building and it will go together much the same way. It will be one of the focal points of the Nicholas Street redevelopment when completed late next year.”

A new artist impression of the finished Murphy’s Town Pub is shown below.

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