Naxxar quarry at Sgħajtar earmarked for five seven-storey blocks

Development of 278 units over five seven-storey blocks in a residential area of Naxxar

The developer Charles Camilleri is proposing the construction of five residential blocks rising to seven storeys, in a residential area of Naxxar on the site of a spent quarry.

The 278-unit apartment block is earmarked for the former quarry bordered by the Censu Muscat, Manwel Magri and Ħawħ streets.

The apartment blocks will rise seven floors above street level, comprising two receded upper floors. Three basement levels will accommodate 346 garages and another 114 parking spaces.

The ‘medium-rise’ development is based on the application of the Floor Area Ratio mechanism through which developments can rise above a town’s height limitations if a substantial part of the site is retained as an open public space.

In this case, a public square is being proposed at the eastern edge of the site.

The quarry had ceased operations in the late 1970s and has been abandoned for the past 35 years. The proposed development will be contained entirely within the footprint of the disused quarry.

An outline permit issued in 2008 had already set parameters for the development, with building heights set to seven floors. The current application involves an additional 3,844sq.m above ground and  a more considerable increase in development below ground level, with the proposed construction of three basement levels.

The Environment and Resources Authority exempted the project from the obligation to conduct an Environment Impact Assessment and is not objecting to the development, especially in view of the urban context in which it is located.

The ERA called for the inclusion of electric vehicle (EV) charging bays and a dimming of lights after 11pm, when activity in the pedestrian areas is heavily reduced. The ERA also called for more studies related to air quality and noise.

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage has been more wary, warning that the project may dominate important views and vistas and lamented the lack of consultation with the SCH in the past, describing the application a “longstanding case on which the Superintendence has not previously been consulted”.

The Superintendence also called for updated photomontages to reflect the latest changes to plans.

The developer claims in his project statement that he will ensure a high standard of residential infrastructure “to meet the needs and objectives of the current economic model which the country is adopting”.

If approved it is expected that the construction phase will take four to five years to be concluded. The excavation works are expected to generate 26,000 cubic metres of inert material.