MIDI: Manoel Island buildings to occupy less than 10% of concession

MIDI submits full planning application, saying new buildings occupy less than 10% of entire concession

The proposed quay promenade at Manoel Island
The proposed quay promenade at Manoel Island

MIDI plc has submitted a full planning application for the development of Manoel Island, saying the footprint of the area occupied by its new buildings will be less than 10% of the entire concession.

The development will consist of three residential clusters making up a total of 323 residential units, down from 499 under the original masterplan, located in the southern and central part of the island.

“The configuration of the buildings aims to seek a better balance between built-up and open spaces, with the open spaces heavily outweighing the built-up areas. The maximum height of each residential cluster is in line with that approved at outline permit – low rise urban blocks of 4 to 5 floors,” the company said.

MIDI’s project management team teamed up with Maltese architecture firm iAS and UN Studios, an international architecture firm, renowned for the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, the Arnhem Central Station in the Netherlands, and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Detailed landscaping designs include a 10,000 sq.m indigenous garden at the entrance of the island as well as the marina promenade and Bovile route. The open spaces will form part of the overall 186,000 sq.m of open spaces across the remainder of the island, of which 80,000 sq.m is the natural glacis park surrounding Fort Manoel.

The development will also see the restoration and rehabilitation of the former Manoel Island hospital building into a catering establishment and the rehabilitation of an existing building adjacent to St George’s Chapel to be converted into a lapidarium, where items of archaeological interest unearthed during investigative digs will be displayed. This lapidarium is a recent addition to the scope of the Manoel Island development following discussions with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage.

The Manoel Island masterplan
The Manoel Island masterplan

MIDI will also recreate the historic Bovile route, as contemplated in the outline permit and will include the restoration of the only surviving Bovile wall. This route re-lives the memory of the livestock being taken to quarantine, from the waterfront, to the Cattleshed, the oldest standing building on Manoel Island. The marina promenade will incorporate the original quay wall within its design; an element recently unearthed during exploratory digs and not originally contemplated in the outline permit. 

A car-park facility with an overlying clubhouse hosting a gymnasium, swimming pool and padel courts have also been incorporated in the development.

“No efforts have been spared to ensure that all the heritage buildings will be restored and given a new lease of life, in particular the Lazzaretto which will be used for mixed use and hospitality purposes,” Midi plc said.

In particular, a decision has been taken to limit the additional development at the Lazzaretto to that contemplated in the existing full development permit. The restoration of the heritage buildings will be undertaken at a cost estimated at more than €40 million, which includes the works already undertaken to restore Fort Manoel to its former glory.