Two prominent, high profile sites in Launceston’s CBD will be redeveloped under proposals being announced today by the City of Launceston.
The Council has purchased a share of the Paterson Street Central car park, as well as the former Birchalls building, to build a new bus interchange and undercover arcade linking through to the Brisbane Street Mall.
The Council will partner with the State Government to develop the bus interchange, which will include dedicated bus stops, as well as an undercover waiting area.
This will allow the relocation of bus stops currently located in St John Street, and pave the way for the future redevelopment of the street as part of the Launceston City Heart Project.
The Council’s purchase of the vacant Birchalls building will facilitate the private development of a ground-level arcade and serve as a public thoroughfare linking the Brisbane Street Mall to the proposed bus interchange.
The purchase of the Paterson Street Central car park will also enable the private development on the remainder of the site – a proposed $80 million creative industries precinct funded by the New Creative Group.
The Group’s proposal will encompass world-class education in design and technology, a virtual and augmented reality enterprise, commercial offices, modern food and retail offerings, as well as student accommodation.
In 2017, the proposed redevelopment of St John Street was put on hold to enable a solution for the location of bus stops within the Launceston CBD to be identified.
That same year, the Council commissioned a study into alternate locations for the St John Street bus stops, with the Paterson Street Central car park identified as the preferred site.
City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the proposed precinct will significantly increase vibrancy, grow visitation and expand economic activity around the CBD as well as increase public transport use across the city.
Mayor van Zetten said that in Christchurch, New Zealand, a new and modern bus interchange helped grow bus patronage from 2 per cent to its current level of around 6 per cent over five years.
“This is an exciting proposal for Launceston,” Mayor van Zetten said.
“It will create significant economic activity, as well as new employment, social, cultural, and education opportunities for our region.
“This project provides a rare opportunity to construct a purpose-built public transport facility in our CBD, which is going to be great for bus passengers, as well as businesses who have been concerned about heavy public transport vehicles in St John Street,” Mayor van Zetten said.
He said the Council had developed a business case to assess the future of the Birchalls building, which had determined the site was unlikely to be redeveloped without public intervention.
“We saw a similar situation with the C.H. Smith building in Charles Street, and the redevelopment of that site has a great success, particularly given its derelict status for so many decades,” he said.
Please note: the image supplied is an artist impression only and does not represent the final design.