The Fino showroom in Mrieħel could be set for redevelopment into a massive office and commercial development rising to 18 floors, as the industrial area continues its transformation into a high-rise business hub.

Fino and Sons Ltd, one of the first companies to set up shop in the Mrieħel industrial area in the 1970s, has submitted plans to demolish its existing manufacturing and retail complex and build seven blocks of between nine and 15 floors each, all set on three “podium floors”.

The existing complex occupies a footprint of just under 20,000 square metres, about the size of three football pitches.

Developers point to a green travel plan

In a project description statement submitted to start the process of the extensive environmental studies that will be required, the developers say the project will create high-end offices to attract international companies active in financial services, commerce, IT real estate and others.

According to the planning document, the number of office workers would be in the region of 8,000 and the commercial facilities are expected to generate about 450 jobs.

“Through the proposed development, Fino seek to diversify their business portfolio through their participation in the property development and retail sectors by taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the designation of the Mrieħel industrial area as an enterprise hub’,” the developers state.

Work is expected to take about five years and is estimated to generate a massive 330,000 cubic metres of construction waste.

The planning document acknowledges that the scale of the proposed buildings will have a high impact on the character and visual amenity of the area, though it says the designation of Mrieħel as an appropriate location for high-rise buildings should be taken into consideration.

It also notes that the “substantial number of expatriate employees” the project is expected to host “is bound to contribute to an increase in pressure for both new development and the redevelopment of existing properties in the Birkirkara and, possibly, Balzan residential areas”.

The developers acknowledge that the project will contribute to a significant increase in traffic in the area, which could put pressure on the road network, and point to a green travel plan to mitigate this impact.

The project’s parking area will need to provide for nearly 2,500 cars, according to the document.

The proposed development follows the approval in 2016 of the Quad Towers project, also in Mrieħel, comprising four interlinked towers of between 14 and 19 storeys each.

The old Farsons Brewery site nearby is also set for redevelopment into an extensive low-rise business park.


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