New plans to develop Tattingers site into apartment block

Tattinger owner submits fresh plans for residential units after hotel project had been shot down by law courts

The new application envisages a five-story apartment block
The new application envisages a five-story apartment block

A new application has been submitted for the redevelopment of the former Tattingers discotheque site on Saqqajja Hill, Rabat, into an apartment block with 34 flats.

The location just outside Mdina was previously earmarked for a 5-star hotel, but the new application envisages a five-story apartment block, restaurants, a gym, and a spa.

The hotel permit issued in 2021 had been revoked by the Court of Appeal in February following an appeal by Din l-Art Helwa. The proposal was deemed to be in breach of the Local Plan for the area, which does not permit the development of new hotels.

The permit had previously been revoked by the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT) and sent back to the Planning Authority due to its issuance before the necessary studies were conducted. The court’s decision has effectively ruled out the development of the site as a hotel.

The new application involves the demolition of existing commercial and residential buildings and the construction of a new block comprising two restaurants, a gym, and a spa on the ground floor, with a parking area located across the road. The residential units are set over five floors and will consist of six one-bedroom units, 17 two-bedroom units, and 11 three-bedroom units.

The proposal also includes alterations and a small extension to the nearby Villa San Clemente, which will be transformed into another restaurant. The proposal also includes two service tunnels under the roads and the landscaping of the outdoor area, along with an underground service area at the corner between Telgha tas-Saqqajja and Triq l-Infetti.

In response to the application, the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage noted that the proposed development would have similar volumes as the original hotel application, albeit with noticeable changes in profile.

To properly assess the application and identify changes in design and impact, the Superintendence has requested a set of photomontages taken from the same viewpoints as those used for the earlier permit.

Noting the change from a hotel to a residential development, the Superintendence is also questioning why the proposed excavation of the two underground tunnels is still being suggested. They recommend eliminating this part of the proposed development to minimize ground disturbance in the archaeological context.

The current 5,549sq.m area is characterised by two-storey properties marked for demolition. The project will still result in increased building density development, but plans suggest that the development will be terraced along the slope of the hill in a way that the new structure will not exceed the height of older buildings located on top of Saqqajja Hill.

The application has been presented by Dominic Micallef, the former owner of Tattingers club, who had initially proposed the hotel. Micallef clarified that he does not own the entire site but has notified the owners who have granted their consent for the proposal.