AFTER years of feeling like the forgotten children of Ipswich, Redbank Plains residents are finally seeing the growth they've been crying out for.
Construction is under way on a mammoth shopping centre that is set to boost job opportunities and consumer choice in the area.
The $140 million town square will be built next to the existing Redbank Plains Retail Centre on Redbank Plains Road, and will bring with it a new Coles supermarket, Aldi, Target and 60 other specialty stores.
In addition to the new centre being built, the existing outlet will also receive its own upgrade, with current tenant Woolworths set to undergo a store expansion.
The new precinct will be converted to a two-level shopping centre, increasing in size from 5899sq m to 27,000sq m - almost five times larger.
The project is also a major boost to the local job economy, with hundreds of positions created during the building stage and afterwards when the centre is open for trading.
The existing centre and land was purchased by Capital Transactions and Alceon for $27 million in September 2013.
Alceon director Todd Pepper said this development would help meet the needs of the fast growing region.
"With the rapid expansion of the primary catchment, this development will support the future retail needs of the area, in a format that is easily accessible from all directions," Mr Pepper said.
Capital Transactions director David Watson said the design of the centre was unique, and could provide room for extra growth should it be needed.
"The design has also been future proofed, with provisions in place for a possible future expansion as the population grows," he said.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the Redbank Plains project was a coup for the region.
"We are experiencing major population growth in the eastern suburbs and need to be able to meet community needs with infrastructure, shopping precincts and amenities," Cr Pisasale said.
"Council welcomes investment in the city, particularly as it shows great confidence in the area's long-term economic viability."
Redbank Plains resident Monique Karee said she was pleased to see the development going ahead.
"We often hear about new shopping centres and other brand new facilities being built in other parts of Ipswich and all around Brisbane, but none of that ever happened here in the Redbank Plains area," she said.
"I for one am glad to see that someone is finally taking an interest in this area to improve the facilities for those residents who are proud to call Redbank Plains home.
"Not everyone has the luxury or money to travel to higher-end suburbs to go shopping."
Brendan Thornton echoed those thoughts.
"I think this will help bring the suburb up in line with other surrounding suburbs," he said.
"We see growth going on everywhere around us, and for once, it's our turn. It's also going to be great for this area as we can shop and buy locally without having to travel too far away from home."
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