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Red letter day for SmartCity as first block is inaugurated

SmartCity Malta achieved a major milestone today with the inauguration of its first office block.

The 12,000 square metres of office space were inaugurated at Ricasoli by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi accompanied by Infrastructure Minister Austin Gatt.

Also inaugurated were underground infrastructural systems which will serve most of the $300m IT township, whose development will continue over the next seven years.

"We are today witnessing the beginning of a renaissance for this area, for Malta and for our economy. SCM01 is yet another symbol of Malta's investment attractiveness, strong economic fundamentals and potential. Whereas in the past we spoke about the challenges of insularity, today we speak about the opportunities of connectivity. SmartCity Malta is such an opportunity," Dr Gonzi said during the ceremony.

“We are witnessing the realisation of a dream. A dream which sees Malta become a regional and global player in ICT ."

The ceremony was held under a large, windswept tent outside the new building, which was spectacularly lit up once the speeches were over. Fireworks were also let off as the prime minister cut the symbolic ribbon and unveiled a plaque.

Dr Gonzi then toured the office suites and watched an audio-visual presentation about the various phases of the construction process.

Ahmad Bin Byat, CEO of Dubai Holdings, the owners of SmartCity Malta, said he had vivid memories of the launch of Dubai Internet City 10 years ago.

"I see similar energy, commitment and enthusiasm to make SmartCity Malta, our first overseas project. "

"We seek to develop SmartCity Malta into a major new centre of excellence for knowledge based companies. The entire development is designed to enable knowledge-based companies to maximise their growth potential. While companies will benefit from high-quality infrastructure and support systems, knowledge workers will have an ideal environment in which to work, network and exchange ideas and information. I believe SmartCity Malta will make a significant contribution to Malta’s economy, by opening up new development avenues, specifically in the IT and IT-enabled services sectors.”

SmartCity Malta has already issued tenders for the construction of the next four buildings.

Located adjacent to SCM01, the office block opened today, and forming part of what will be known as the Lagoon District, the new construction will include two office buildings, SCM02 and SCM03, and two retail buildings, SCM04 and SCM05. The launch of the lagoon area itself is timed to coincide with the completion of the new building complex.

Designed as a multi-level, open-air esplanade, the retail spaces will house food and beverage outlets as well as retail shops and boutiques, all a few steps away from the Lagoon.

Dr Gatt, speaking at a political conference this morning, expressed confidence that more than 90% of the 5,000 workers who will be employed by SmartCity Malta would be Maltese, thanks to the skilled personnel being turned out by the University and Mcast.

He said that many would be enjoying well-paid jobs since many of the companies at SmartCity would be focused on overseas markets, as was the case of the Malta-based e-gaming industry.

Dr Gatt also pointed that despite claims that speculation was behind this project, there was 'no villa in sight' with the focus being first on office and then retail spaces.

FIRST TENANT

Meridium, a Virginia-headquartered asset performance management (APM) software provider, is to become the first SmartCity tenant and will base a four-member team at Smart City Malta next month.

The privately-held group, which has offices in Roanoke, Houston, Dubai, Perth and Walldorf, eventually plans to have a staff of 30 operating in Malta.

Meridium is a software engineering services company offering a full enterprise solution: its client portfolio includes such names as Chevron, LyondellBasell, Marat­hon Oil and Anglo Platinum. It is now seeking to add global players in food packaging and airlines to its customer base.

Established in the US in 1993 by Bonz Hart, Meridium’s mission is to assist the world’s most asset-intensive businesses from oil and gas companies to petro-chemicals improve their reliability, increase availability, and optimise their operations by managing their equipment more efficiently to maximise production.

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