Sliema’s refitted Tagliaferro Business Centre snapped up
Sliema’s Tagliaferro Business Centre, the former Bank of Valletta headquarters acquired by Vassallo Group in June last year and refitted in “record time”, is enjoying almost full occupancy, group chairman Nazzareno Vassallo told The Sunday Times.
A diverse range of mostly non-Maltese businesses involved in igaming, aircraft leasing, IT, financial services and banking, and their 650-odd staff are now operating from the property which has a main entrance on High Street and is accessible from Cathedral Street.
Mr Vassallo said a state-of-the-art, 24-hour gym is soon to open at street level, where a major brand will also occupy sizable retail space.
Units of various sizes within the eight-storey, 7,000-square metre building began to be snapped up for long leases, even before the €5 million refit was completed last December.
The igaming anchor tenant, which had scheduled its move for last January 1, began to transfer its staff in groups of 50 just before Christmas and was fully operational with its 450-strong team in place by the beginning of this year.
“The property was stripped down to its shell,” Mr Vassallo explained.
“We were lucky in a sense that Tagliaferro was originally built to be an office block, but so many internal modifications were made over the years that it had become a maze. We eliminated the staircase and lift which were accessible from Cathedral Street and completely restructured the lobby on the High Street side.”
The ability to refit the property rapidly using the group’s resources was a major factor which drove the acquisition, Mr Vassallo added.
But the group immediately had to take a major decision: develop additional floors to match the height of the adjacent building or embark on an immediate, intensive refit to put the space on the market as quickly as possible.
The group decided to work to satisfy the existing demand for office space in Sliema and engaged consultants and the real estate agent community to market the property.
Tagliaferro Business Centre now features an imposing double-height reception area bathed in natural light, overlooked by the first floor, which was the first to be leased. It boasts two high-speed lifts able to go from basement to penthouse in seven seconds.
The building’s underground parking is supplemented by additional space at the adjacent commercial car park, where two new floors earmarked for Tagliaferro tenants’ use are being developed.
The internal transformation from single operation to multiple business spaces saw the elimination of the central air-conditioning and power system in a bid to offer the necessary flexibility to meet tenants’ requirements.
Every floor is divided into six modules, allowing tenants to occupy spaces, ranging from as little as 70 square metres to an entire level across 800 square metres.
Each unit has its own air-conditioning system and utility metres.
Mr Vassallo explained the new configuration allowed for rapid turnaround and units are able to be fitted and readied for entry in a matter of days.
“The ability to deliver the space so quickly gave us an edge over the competition,” he added.
“The quality of the internal finishing and the location also contributed to the success we have enjoyed with Tagliaferro. Our timing was right – we saw an opportunity and we grabbed it. Not a day goes by without an enquiry being made about space at Tagliaferro. We were impressed with the interest shown by new, international businesses looking to move to Malta,” Mr Vassallo said.