Gzira mayor: 29 storeys on Golden Harvest site is too much

Gzira mayor Conrad Borg Manché has expressed concern on the impact of a proposed 29-storey tower on the site of the Golden Harvest factory

Gozitan developer Euchar Vella’s firm Karkanja is proposing the construction of two interconnected towers  for some 100 new residential units as well as the ubiquitous supermarket
Gozitan developer Euchar Vella’s firm Karkanja is proposing the construction of two interconnected towers for some 100 new residential units as well as the ubiquitous supermarket

Gzira mayor Conrad Borg Manché has expressed concern on the impact of a proposed 29-storey tower on the site of the Golden Harvest factory, and announced that the council has already registered itself as an objector to the development.

“The project has a lot of repercussions and I am particularly concerned by the proximity of the project to the schools in the area,” Borg Manché said when contacted by MaltaToday.

The council has yet to discuss the issue in its next meeting but asked for his personal opinion, the mayor replied: “29 storeys is too much”.

Borg Manché admitted that during the past days following MaltaToday’s report, he had been inundated by messages from residents opposed to the proposed development.

Borg Manché confirmed that the council has discussed the redevelopment of the Golden Harvest area with the developers but insisted that he was not aware that the developers were proposing a 29-storey tower when the project was discussed.

“Our talks have focused on seeking a planning gain for the community through the creation of an underground parking space. We did this to get something in return for the community but we only learned of the extent of the project when the PA application was presented,” Borg Manché replied when asked whether the council had consented to the development during these discussions.

Borg Manché also said that the council has objected to the addition of five new storeys on the approved 16-storey tower in the former United Garage site, which had been approved without any opposition from the council in 2015.

“One cannot apply for extra storeys over and above the Floor Area Ratio mechanism,” Borg Manché said.

29 storeys on Golden Harvest site

Gozitan developer Euchar Vella’s firm Karkanja is proposing the construction of two interconnected towers – one rising to 13 storeys, and the higher one rising to 29 – for some 100 new residential units as well as the ubiquitous supermarket. 

The new high-rise project is being proposed instead of the old Golden Harvest factory that faces the Turu Colombo Square, outside the Gzira secondary school along Triq Nazju Ellul and Triq Reid. In comments to MaltaToday, Euchar Vella said the project would regenerate the area by creating more open space.

“Our intention is to create 2,000 square metres of open space on what is a 2,600 sq.m site… and also to allocate underground parking space to ensure that Misrah Turu Colombo is no longer used as a car park. In this way the project will create even more open space to the benefit of residents.”

But the area is hardly suitable under the controversial high-rise policy introduced by the Planning Authority, which requires land for high-rise projects to be bounded by four streets. 

Plans submitted to the PA indeed refer to an 880 sq.m “hypothetical road” which will be constructed as part of the new development. 

According to Vella the “hypothetical” road was being identified in plans presented to the PA for the sake of calculating the area of open space which will be made available by the project, adding that the area occupied by the new road cannot be included in the FAR calculation, which offsets increased height with the creation of more open space.

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