No end in sight for removal of Jerma hotel ruins

A court expert valued the former hotel and its surrounding land at €20.8 million and it would cost €1.5 million to demolish the building

Jerma Hotel
Jerma Hotel

An enforcement order for the demolition of the derelict Jerma hotel in Marsaskala is stuck in limbo as an appeal drags on in front of the tribunal.

The next hearing of the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal is now on March 1, next year and is reserved for the final submissions by both parties.

There is no indication when the tribunal would deliver its verdict though, which is likely to come almost two years after the Planning Authority slapped the site with an enforcement order. The last sitting took place last month when a PA official testified on how the authority went about identifying the owners of the site to notify them of the enforcement order.

The order was issued in August 2016 after a site visit by PA officers confirmed the repeated complaints that the area had become a den of filth, riddled with danger.

The Jerma site is owned by JPM Brothers Ltd and Jefpet Ltd, in turn owned by brothers Jeffrey and Peter Montebello.

They appealed the enforcement order.

Meanwhile, the derelict structure remains like a sore thumb on the promontory jutting out into the sea. Jerma was Malta’s most prestigious hotel in the south. It opened its doors in 1982 and cost €16.3 million to build. Until it closed in 2007 it was operated by the Corinthia chain.

The Montebello brothers bought the site and filed a planning application to develop a hotel and luxury apartments in 2008.

But the brothers dropped the plans after running into financial troubles.

An attempt to sell the hotel site by court auction last year was unsuccessful. A court expert had valued the former hotel and its surrounding land at €20.8 million. It would cost €1.5 million to demolish the building.

The Jerma site covers an area of 38,745 square metres.

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