THOSE in the long Ipswich unemployment queue have been handed a lifeline with the news that work will soon start on the $350 million Metroplex Westgate development in Wacol.
The development is set to create 10,000 jobs over its lifetime and that headline message comes at a time when unemployment is at its highest level in years in the local region.
The $350 million Metroplex project will cover 60 hectares, including 250,000 sqm of floor space and 19 hectares of green space, at the former Wacol Army Barracks.
Metroplex Westgate will be about twice the size of the already developed Metroplex Murarrie with 250,000sqm of floor space.
Stage one of the project, Metroplex South, will be completed by the end of the year with the first tenants expected to set up shop in 2015. The project will be constructed by developer Metroplex and real estate investment trust GPT Group.
GPT head commercial and industrial development John Thomas said the project had already attracted strong interest from clients. "The scope of the project, its central location and the tight supply of large scale industrial lots in this corridor, all form to make Metroplex Westgate a compelling investment," he said.
"The development has already received strong interest from both national and international tenants."
Alongside industrial space, Westgate Metroplex is expected to include a "Mixed Industry Business Area" comprising a retail and commercial precinct with 6000sqm of floor space.
It will include childcare centre, fitness clubs, a medical centre and pharmacy, supermarket and a civic square for gatherings and performances.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the development would go ahead immediately and was a vote of confidence in the economy. "The fact it will support up to 10,000 workers is an indication of the significance of this project," he said.
"If the award-winning Metroplex Gateway at Murarrie is a guide, Metroplex Westgate will be a resounding success," Cr Quirk said.
Cr Quirk said stage one was expected to be finished by December, and would become a major driver of the economy in the western corridor.
"Metroplex Westgate will attract investment and new businesses. The project will be a catalyst for existing business expansion and industrial development."
Metroplex spokesman Peter Macgregor said the construction activity on site would give prospective tenants renewed confidence in the offering.
"The joint venture with GPT has solidified the future of this project, and the immediate start of works on Metroplex South is a green flag for companies that have been waiting for large industrial sites to be made available in the west Brisbane corridor," he said.