Corinthia triggers lease mechanism for residential development at Ħal Ferħ complex

A re-zoning exercise to allow residential development at the Ħal Ferħ complex kick-started after site owners Corinthia triggered a lease mechanism that allows mixed-use development

An artist's impression of the redevelopment of the abandoned Ħal Ferħ complex as approved in 2013
An artist's impression of the redevelopment of the abandoned Ħal Ferħ complex as approved in 2013

Re-zoning the former Ħal Ferħ tourist complex to cater for residences was initiated after the Corinthia Group triggered a mechanism in the lease agreement for mixed-use development.

The company said in a market notice on the Malta Stock Exchange that it intends to pursue an “upmarket low-rise mixed development” that includes a luxury hotel and spa, and serviced villas and bungalows.

The announcement came a day after government asked the Planning Authority to initiate a review of the local plan and the development brief for the Ħal Ferħ complex in Golden Bay to include residences.

READ ALSO: Corinthia's Ħal Ferħ tourist complex could get residences after government seeks zoning change

The area already has a planning permit for the development of a low-rise timeshare complex, obtained in early 2013. The site had been transferred by the government to Island Hotels Group in 2009 by way of a perpetual emphyteusis that limited development to a footprint of not more than 16,700sq.m, 20% of the site’s overall area.

The deed stipulated that half the built footprint can be developed over two floors, and the other half to a single storey, while maximum development must not exceed 25,000sq.m of gross floor area.

The 2009 deed cites tourism as a use for the site but included a mechanism for the conversion of part of the gross floor area to residential.

Island Hotels Group was bought by Corinthia in 2015 and the company signalled its intention to re-design the development.

Corinthia’s holding company, International Hotel Investments, has now signalled its intention to trigger the mechanism to be allowed a mixed-use development that includes residences.

“IHI wishes to reaffirm its intention to exalt the Maltese character of the development and retain the current limitations on footprints, heights and development volumes cited in the original title and development briefs for the site. This in keeping with Corinthia’s international positioning as a luxury brand which aims to target a more discreet clientele by proposing a low-rise, extensively landscaped mixed-use development as found across the more upmarket destinations in the Mediterranean,” IHI said.