Qormi high-rise ditched, Portelli presents plans for five-storey block

The Mercury House developer Joseph Portelli has officially abandoned plans for an imposing 14-storey tower set on Qormi’s gateway, and has now submitted plans for a five-storey office block

The Mercury House developer Joseph Portelli has officially abandoned plans for an imposing 14-storey tower set on Qormi’s gateway, and has now submitted plans for a five-storey office block
The Mercury House developer Joseph Portelli has officially abandoned plans for an imposing 14-storey tower set on Qormi’s gateway, and has now submitted plans for a five-storey office block

The Mercury House developer Joseph Portelli has officially abandoned plans for an imposing 14-storey tower set on Qormi’s gateway, and has now submitted plans for a five-storey office block.

The 23m-high development will rise 17.5m above Qormi road.

In May, the Planning Authority had approved the excavation of the site in the absence of clear plans for the second stage of the development, with the developers only announcing they were withdrawing their high-rise plans during a public PA meeting.

The project will occupy a 2,000sq.m footprint in the 3,800sq.m site, formerly agricultural land. Originally, the high-rise would have taken just over 1,000sq.m, leaving a larger area to be landscaped, but with a more marked visual impact on the locality.

The new plans are for a mixed-use commercial block with three-storey car park and showroom below street level, and an office block on five storeys above Valletta Road. A vernacular building in Triq l-Erba’ Qaddisin and existing reservoir will be retained and restored, and a water-shoot dismantled and relocated on the same site. The roof will include a 721sq.m recreational area.

The new plans have solicited a positive response from the Environment and Resources Authority, welcoming the downscaling. “Such a reduction in height of the development is considered to be positive and more in line with the surrounding area.”

The PA’s design advisory committee, which assesses the visual impact of large project, is “averse” to the proposal both in terms of its scale and height.

More in Townscapes