New 40-storey hotel to ‘complement’ other high rises

Developers claim that new hotel will mostly cast a shadow on their own property

james
James Debono
25 June 2015, 7:27am
A new forty-storey hotel in Sliema will be casting its shadow on the neighbouring Fort Cambridge apartment block, developers GAP Holdings claimed when asked on the shadowing effect on neighbouring residences.

“Most of the time, especially during the afternoon, the shadowing will be on our own property,” GAP Holdings director Paul Attard told MaltaToday.

According to Attard the effect of the hotel tower on the landscape has to be seen in the context that the Tigné peninsula has been earmarked as a high-rise area in the recently approved policy regulating building heights. “Therefore, more high rise buildings are expected to complement one another,” Attard said.

But it is this fear of a concentration of high-rise developments in an area with a population density of 4,135 per square kilometre which is creating most concern among residents.

A 38-storey tower is already being proposed next to Villa Drago, and other developments may follow.

“We are already experiencing a gridlock of traffic,” Sliema councillor for Alternattiva Demokratika, Michael Briguglio told MaltaToday.

Briguglio has called on MEPA to assess the cumulative social and environmental impacts of all proposed developments before taking a decision on any single proposal. 

He said that while the Fort Cambridge development was approved by a development brief, which limited the height of the project to 16 storeys, no reference to the development of a 40-storey hotel was made in this brief.

He also told MaltaToday that MEPA has informed him that the Environmental Protection Directorate is still assessing whether an Environment Impact Assessment is required.

On his part, Paul Attard confirmed that the Malta Tourism Authority has given GAP Holdings the green light to apply with MEPA to build a 40-storey hotel. But the MTA will require further information, details and MEPA permits prior to the final approval.

The application submitted to MEPA is for the erection of a 5-star hotel having 368 rooms. “At present we are dealing with various renowned management chains,” Attard said, describing the hotel as “the first of its kind in Malta, being a city hotel, more business orientated and not the resort type.”

He also claims the hotel will create 300 new jobs. “The shape of the building was developed following various designs and studies with the scope of creating pleasant massing to the high rise as an iconic building.” 

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