When the ribbon was cut on the redevelopment of Farsons’ iconic brewery last month, the project was met with applause and glowing praise.
Trident Park, the new green office campus on the site of Farsons’ landmark Art Deco industrial facility has done what so few other development projects in Malta have managed before – it created a space that embraces both contemporary design and state-of-the-art technology while also preserving and even celebrating the original site’s heritage and context.
As one guest at the inauguration ceremony remarked in passing: “It’s one of those rare places where you forget you are still in Malta – it just feels different to everything else being developed.”
For the many involved – a broad community of stakeholders, shareholders, and investors – the inauguration was a moment to savour – the culmination of a years-long dream.
But for the man at the helm of the group’s new property-holding and development arm, it was also the fruition of a bold business risk.
“We took a decision that very few – perhaps no one else in Malta, had previously been willing to take,” said Charles Xuereb, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Trident Estates plc.
He explained how from the onset of the earliest stages of the project, a decision had been taken to leave a huge part, more than half of the site’s potential footprint, deliberately undeveloped.
World-renowned architecture firm ritchie.studios – based in London – Trident Estates and Farsons had agreed to build up around 15,000 square metres of office space of the total developable space that would become Trident Park. The potential, however, was for more than 40,000 square metres to be built up.
“It was a big discussion and there was a lot of convincing to be done. But I, and others involved, believed in creating something different – something that has a unique selling point, a truly quality destination, that offers a quality experience for tenants.”
“We wanted to create something which would withstand economic downturns and stand the test of time,” said Mr Xuereb.
And according to Mr Xuereb, a numbers man who previously served as Farsons Group Chief Financial Officer, the risk paid off.
After 10 years, the first tenants moved in at the start of April 2022. Today, a few weeks after the official inauguration, Xuereb said Trident Park is already at 77 per cent occupancy.
Trident Park presently has around dozens of tenants, including professional services and financial services providers, a bank, an ed-tech company, a courier services company, and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).
Mr Xuereb said that a big part of Trident Estates’ work is curating the community of tenants.
“We carry out checks and due diligence on potential tenants. However, more than that – we are sensitive to the importance of getting the balance of tenants right,” he said.
Among the latest tenants is the European Union’s Asylum Agency, which will be taking up a number of floors, and Mr Xuereb says he is particularly excited about a few future prospects.
Sensitive to the obligations of speaking on behalf of a listed entity, Mr Xuereb says he is “cautiously optimistic” that these numbers will climb further in the near future.
“The truth is we are in talks with some great tenants and we should hopefully be seeing something exciting come through quite soon,” he said.
Trident Park pitches itself as a Grade-A office working environment. It stands out not only for its high-quality office spaces but also for its integration within a wider ecosystem.
Adjacent to Trident Park is The Brewhouse, Farsons’ showpiece, which houses eateries and bars set against meticulously restored 1950s brewing equipment.
A rooftop bar, beer garden, craft beer microbrewery, and unique events and meeting spaces all add to the offering.
The thoughtful design of the campus’ seven low-density, low-rise, terraced office blocks, interspersed with landscaped gardens and walkways reminiscent of a university campus, are meant to create an atmosphere where natural light flourishes.
Trident Park also offers ancillary facilities, such as a childcare facility, state-of-the-art gym, dentist, and medical-aesthetic clinic. Mr Xuereb emphasises the importance of creating and managing the right blend of tenants.
And Mr Xuereb says that Trident’s focus on providing an exceptional experience has resonated with tenants, with many expressing that the space offers a sense of openness and a unique working environment.
“The feedback has just been incredible so far. It’s been satisfying to see our vision for this space work,” he said.
The feedback from the real estate sector has been unequivocal: “If you embark on another project, make it like this one.”
“Trident Park’s success is not solely measured in occupancy rates but also in its ability to withstand economic downturns and deliver long-term value.”
With a development cost of €66 million, Trident Estates’ prudent financial management has resulted in an indebtedness of just €28.5 million, a testament to its strategic approach.
Mr Xuereb’s vision of creating curated communities that offer more than just buildings has reshaped the landscape of property development.
With Trident Park as a flagship example, he says Trident Estates will “continue to set new benchmarks” for quality, sustainability, and community engagement.
Trident Estates CEO Charles Xuereb
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