Construction is progressing at pace on the extension and redevelopment of the Commonwealth Hotel in the Nicholas Street Precinct.
Concrete pours, the elevator shaft, amenities block, drainage, wall construction and internal piping are now complete.
Also known to locals as Murphy’s Pub, the iconic watering hole is being transformed into a modern dining and entertainment venue fit for a booming city, all while maintaining all of its historical charm and features.
The extensive redevelopment will have something for everyone with indoor and outdoor dining, a feature cocktail bar, beer garden and function rooms.
Where the site transitions from restoration to new build, what will be the revitalised historic hotel’s lounge area now has the first of its new walls, which doubles as a retaining wall.
Three hundred cubic metres of gravel has filled the gap between this new wall and the existing century-old building.
This provides comprehensive structural integrity as well as drainage for the building.
Preparation works for the entry stairwell connecting the multi-level venue to the carpark and outdoor dining are on track, along with air-conditioning and beer conduits to provide all-important cooling and refreshments.
Next, scaffolding and formwork will be installed for the lounge area ceiling, ready for the largest concrete pour in the new build.
Once poured, the footprint for the entire outdoor area will be revealed, providing a glimpse of the reimagined, iconic watering hole.
With the hotel’s extension now rising, the next-generation Commonwealth Hotel is becoming more visible from Bremer St.
Since first opening in 1910, the Commonwealth Hotel has been one of Ipswich city’s most treasured gathering places.
It has stood the test of time, lasting through two world wars, two global pandemics, intensifying natural disasters and the bulldozing era of the 1980s.
But in 2014, it was in desperate need of attention when subsidence and significant cracking in the building’s façade had rendered the site unusable and at risk of collapse.
In a labour of love and respect for the city’s historical values, Ipswich City Council acquired the building in an out-of-court decision with the former owner. Since then, the council has been painstakingly restoring it to its former glory since.
This has required careful deconstruction of its parts to prevent further disintegration and enable their delicate restoration.
Pieces were stored offsite in a council depot for restoration and repair, and in total, 20,000 recycled bricks and 22,000 new bricks were used in the building’s refurbishment.
Providing a link between the Ipswich of old and the city’s future, it is expected the reopening of the Commonwealth Hotel in 2024 will revitalise the night-time economy in the emerging city heart.
Commenting on the restoration, Mayor Teresa Harding said the hotel would act as an anchor for the Nicholas Street Precinct, attracting additional visitors and diners to the city’s emerging heart and bolstering future trade.
“This is a pivotal moment in the Nicholas Street Precinct redevelopment that we have been working towards,” Mayor Harding said.
“We have watched this grand building being brought back to life.”