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PA to approve car park for unapproved St Julian’s high-rise

Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli may soon be granted a permit for a car park for a yet-to-be approved 15-storey tower next to the Intercontinental Hotel

james
James Debono
22 August 2017, 8:00am
The project is set for approval because the PA’s planning directorate is calling on the PA to approve the car park even if the authority is still assessing the high-rise development
The project is set for approval because the PA’s planning directorate is calling on the PA to approve the car park even if the authority is still assessing the high-rise development
Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli may soon be granted a permit for a car park for a yet-to-be approved 15-storey tower next to the Intercontinental Hotel.

A decision on the first phase of a “comprehensive project” consisting of the demolition of two villas and the excavation of four-level underground parking for 69 cars, is due tomorrow.

The project is set for approval because the PA’s planning directorate is calling on the PA to approve the car park even if the authority is still assessing the high-rise development.

Phase 2, which consists of a 240-room hotel, office space, retail outlets and 50 studio apartments, will be approved at a later stage.

The site is immediately adjacent to the existing Intercontinental Hotel and Eden Cinema complex on the upward part of Triq Santu Wistin near the entrance of the Intercontinental Hotel’s car park.

The splitting of the two applications was dubbed as “a stratagem adopted by the applicant and tolerated by the Planning Directorate to deflect the real and contentious planning issues that are intrinsic in the development as envisaged in its totality” according to architects representing the Eden Leisure Group, which own the Intercontinental Hotel.

They warned that the prospective 69 car park places might not be enough to meet the parking demand created by phase 2 of the project.

But in his report the case officer insisted that, “irrespective of the nature of any proposals made in Phase 2, the proposal in this application is still deemed acceptable”.  

If the car park does not satisfy the required parking for the proposed high-rise, the developers will be expected to make a monetary contribution to the PA’s Commuted Community Parking Scheme (CPPS) as has been the case for other developments in this area, which resulted in an under-provision for parking. The proposed car park is also deemed acceptable, because it will provide additional parking in this entertainment hub until the whole project is approved.

Portelli is also seeking the green-light to redevelop the Mercury House site in Paceville, despite the masterplan for the Paceville neighbourhood having gone back to the drawing board.

Portelli describes his 32-storey high-rise designed by Zaha Hadid Architects as an “iconic building” that would “induce an elegant and contemporary architectural statement”, and incorporate the “restored” Mercury House adjoined to it.

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