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New photomontages show Gzira skyline under shadow of Metropolis and 14 East high-rises

And to boot... the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage declares that fve new storeys on the 16-storey tower at the former United Garage siute in Gzira, will have no impact on views of Valletta

james
James Debono
12 July 2017, 6:57am
The high-rise setting as seen from Valletta, and clockwise, from Pietà, from the Regional Road, Manoel Island, and from Tigné
The high-rise setting as seen from Valletta, and clockwise, from Pietà, from the Regional Road, Manoel Island, and from Tigné
The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage has declared that five new storeys on the 16-storey tower being built on the site of the former United Garage in Gzira, will have no impact on views of Valletta.

In May 2016, less than a year after they got approval for the 16-storey tower, ADMG Estates Ltd applied for the addition of eight new storeys, a proposal later downscaled to five.

But the photomontages submitted by the developers have revealed the massive visual impact of both the 21-storey tower in progress, and the already approved yet undeveloped 33-storey Metropolis development on Testaferrata Street.

The developers presented visuals of both the proposed development from Valletta, Sliema, Manoel Island, Gzira and Ta’ Xbiex and also of the cumulative impact of their project and the Metropolis development. 

Other proposed high-rises in the area, like the one proposed on the Golden Harvest site and on the Wembley ice cream factory, are not included in the photomontages.

The photomontages include both 50mm single-frame and 75mm single-frame images to provide a realistic impression of scale and distance, in contrast to photomontages taken using the 25mm wide-angles submitted by the developers of the Mriehel towers, which was approved by the Planning Authority in September.

These new photomontages show the scale of the proposed Metropolis high-rise on Testaferrata Street in Gzira, when viewed from Valletta, together with the high-rise on the site of the former United Garage
These new photomontages show the scale of the proposed Metropolis high-rise on Testaferrata Street in Gzira, when viewed from Valletta, together with the high-rise on the site of the former United Garage
According to the Superintendent for Cultural Heritage, the photomontages do not indicate a negative visual impact (of the five additional storeys) when viewed from these locations.

The Superintendence also requested an additional photomontage, which shows that there will be no visual impact of the proposed new floors on the views and vistas of Valletta’s profile and skyline when viewed from the direction of Fort St Angelo, Birgu.

But the photomontages show that the 21-storey tower will dominate views from the Strand, dwarfing the nearby church. The United Garage tower will also be very visible when viewed from Regional Road in Kappara, from where Marsamxett harbour is visible. Both projects are highly visible from Hastings Garden in Valletta.

But the most remarkable aspect emerging from the photomontages is the visual impact of the Metropolis project which will completely dominate views of Manoel island when viewed from Tigné and the Sliema strand.

Din l-Art Helwa has objected to the additional five floors and has asked how an approved high-rise building which already applied the floor-area ratio, can extend further than the original intent whilst retaining the same footprint. The floor area ratio permits extra floors in return for maximising open space around the project.

Two other high-rise projects are being proposed in Gzira.

Gozitan developer Euchar Vella’s firm Karkanja is proposing the construction of two interconnected towers – one rising to 13 storeys, and the higher one rising to 29 – on the site of the former Golden Harvest factory. The projects include 100 new residential units as well as the ubiquitous supermarket. An 18-storey tower is also being proposed on the Wembley ice cream factory, just opposite the Metropolis high-rise.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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