Major reno of 90-year-old soda factory set to make it pop

West End’s historic Tristram’s soft drink factory will undergo a landmark refurbishment in Brisbane. Picture: Supplied.

A massive renovation of a 90-year-old soda factory in one of QLD’s quirkiest suburbs is set to make the property pop.

For over 40 years the Spanish Mission styled factory, designed by architectural firm Atkinson, Powell and Conrad, was the base for Queensland soft drink manufacturer Tristram’s, a statewide legend in its time.

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SCA Property Group senior development manager Aleisha O’Connor with Michael Tristram at the site of what was once his family’s soft drink factory. Picture: Supplied

The iconic Queensland brand all but disappeared when it was consumed by Cadbury Schweppes in the 1970s, and the building went on to be sold in 1979 when it was converted into markets in West End.

At the time it was built in 1930 – for a price we can only dream of now, the princely sum of 25,000 pounds – the new factory was said to be “thoroughly modern in every respect, with a well laid out garden and lawns occupying the front of the site”.

It was groundbreaking in its time, adding gardens and greenery to industrial sites.

The redevelopment will see 22 specialty stores created. Picture: Supplied.

SCA Property Group, which bought the soda factory premises off a private investor for $32m in 2014, said the last time the property had a good makeover was in 2001 when it was owned by Heritage Pacific.

Their plan now is to complete the refurbishment by late 2021, with the site to then reopen with 22 speciality stores, a Coles neighbourhood centre and a massive 220 car park spaces.

SCA CEO Anthony Mellowes said in a statement that their redevelopment would preserve the site’s historic value.

“The Soda Factory is instantly recognisable to most people in Brisbane and it is important that it continues to be a West End landmark for generations to come.”

The site will have “an urban edge” with travelators installed as well for convenience. Picture: Supplied.

“Our team, together with our consultants, have worked tirelessly to develop a solution that we think the community will love and shoppers will embrace,” he said.

Among the changes to make it pop will be major upgrades to the “mall scape” and outdoor dining zones, with a mix of industrial heritage and special detailing to give the venue “an urban edge”.

Particular focus was going into “restoring and rejuvenating the building’s main facade”.

So what happened to the Tristrams? The family is still in the factory business in Brisbane, operating a food manufacturing business called Trisco Foods at Carole Park and in Colorado Springs in the United States.

Third generation manufacturer Trisco Foods chairman Ian Tristram was thrilled at the news that the current owners of the soda factory planned to preserve the building’s links to its original use.

Trisco Foods CEO Michel Tristram in the family’s Carole Park warehouse.

“The family has watched the building change and grow over the last 50 years and we are honoured SCA has chosen the name Soda Factory to reflect its history.”

“It is a testament to the original designers and builders that it still retains its charm and functionality nearly 100 years after being built. We look forward to seeing the finished product.”