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Car park for unapproved St Julian's high rise approved

The Planning Authority has approved a car park for a yet to be approved 15 storey development proposed by Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli

James Debono
23 August 2017, 3:23pm
Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli was granted a permit for a car park for a yet-to-be approved 15-storey tower next to the Intercontinental Hotel.

The 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 was taken today 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 Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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