Naxxar parking area up for sale
Trade Fair centre lot is put out to tender
The vast parking lot around the Naxxar Trade Fair centre is up for sale and could be turned into a built-up area.
The land, covering more than 6,000 square metres, is owned by the Malta Trade Fairs Corporation and the Fairs and Exhibitions Limited, which is trying to dispose of its assets to close down the business.
Corporation chairman Paul Abela, who is the company’s president and also president of the Malta Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises – GRTU, confirmed the land was up for sale by tender.
Interested parties have been asked to submit their offer for the land, which according to the architect’s valuations costs “millions”.
However, Mr Abela refused to divulge the precise cost or how much the corporation was expecting to make of the sale as he said this could prejudice it.
The area being sold is adjacent to the trade fair centre, a 44,000-square-metre complex which hosted the annual trade fair for more than 50 years. It is one of the few remaining open areas in the heart of Naxxar and is surrounded by a vast garden in the grounds of the historic Palazzo Parisio.
The complex, owned by the heirs of the Marquis Scicluna, will not be sold, and neither will “parcels of land” the corporation owned within the complex, Mr Abela confirmed.
The area around the complex is within the planning scheme designated for development, Mr Abela said. The corporation and the Fairs and Exhibitions Limited had purchased this land in the 1970s.
Asked what instigated the sale, Mr Abela said there was “no scope” for the existence of the company and the corporation which eventually had to be “dismantled”. To do so, they had to dispose of their assets.
The Malta Trade Fairs Corporation was first set up in 1955 as an organising body for the Malta Trade Fair, which later took on the name of the International Fair of Malta.
The corporation’s shareholders include the GRTU, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, the government, the Malta Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and the Trade Fairs Exhibitors Association.
The latter organisation was recently involved in a number of court cases to fight the right to use the Naxxar premises as a venue for the holding of fairs.
A recent appeals court judgment confirmed that a permit to hold the fair in 2010 should have been issued. The annual trade fair was moved to Ta’ Qali in 2007 after being held in Naxxar for 50 years. But in January 2010, a legal tug of war ensued between the company and the Commerce Division after the latter refused to grant a licence to hold the fair again.
Asked whether it made sense for the association to fight a legal battle if the parking area was going to be sold, Mr Abela said the company was not stopping anyone, not even the association, from purchasing the land, thus being able to retain it as a parking area for possible future trade fairs.
Documents related to the land sale can be collected from the GRTU offices in Republic Street, Valletta, against a fee of €100. Offers must be received by October 5.