That Dumpling Place opened last Friday and in a positive sign had a packed house to cook for.
Residents call on council to put accommodation into their CBD agenda
AS the Ipswich Council’s Nicholas Street Mall redevelopment project drags on the call from residents asking for more detailed information is getting louder.
Local restaurant owner, Mario Grimaldi, created a storm of publicity recently with a three-minute social media video post in which he said the city centre was now “worse than it’s ever been”.
His outburst prompted Mayor Teresa Harding to spring to the defence of the multi-million project saying the council is starting to see the positive outcomes of its focus and investment in Ipswich Central as vacancy rates in the precinct are now at an all-time low.
In a later press release the council pointed to 21 new businesses opening in the area.
An Ipswich Local News inquiry as to who the businesses were and where they are located revealed that only a few were in the Nicholas Street hub where many premises remain bordered up.
One positive for the council this week was the opening of That Dumpling Place on Friday.
Council said it was also hoping that Zambrero’s and Sushi Hyo would open in “the coming months”.
The key component for the Mall project surrounds securing Hoyts as the anchor tenant and in this regard due diligence talks with the cinema conglomerate are now dragging into their ninth month.
When asked for clarity on the negotiations council’s response was “council is currently considering the commercial terms provided by the preferred operator and intends on making a decision in the next two
months regarding the cinema offering”.
A worry for council is the fact that Hoyts entire cinema operation in Australia was put up for sale by its Chinese owners, the Wanda Group midway through last year.
Council does have a fallback option if Hoyts pulls out with a proposal put to them by Limelight Cinemas for a boutique arts style cinema operation.
Mr Grimaldi, who operates the Casa Mia Restaurant on South Station Road at Raceview, is pursuing his issues with the state of the CBD and last week called a meeting asking for residents who shared his concerns to attend.
Twenty turned up for the meeting and after a spirited discussion they agreed to send a letter to the council asking them to firstly protect the heritage of the CBD and secondly to look at providing accommodation opportunities in the empty buildings instead of trying to fill them up with retail.
Mr Grimaldi said we need vibrant people to spend money living in the heart of our city.
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