Gzira high-rise over Wembley factory slashed from 18 to 11 storeys

The property is on the PA’s waiting list of properties awaiting a decision on scheduling by the Planning Authority.

A high-rise development proposed on the site of the Wembley Ice cream factory
A high-rise development proposed on the site of the Wembley Ice cream factory

A high-rise development proposed on the site of the Wembley ice cream factory on Rue d’Argens in Gzira has been slashed from 18 to 11 floors, and from a height of 88 metres to 55 metres.

The design was also changed to include an arched roof and aluminium louver, which gives the building a more opulent look.

The development, which still dwarfs adjacent buildings, foresees the “careful dismantling” of the ice cream factory’s façade and its rebuilding at the centre of the new development

The property is on the PA’s waiting-list of properties awaiting a decision on scheduling by the Planning Authority.

Front elevation of how the new Wembley development will look, with the old building facade being retained.
Front elevation of how the new Wembley development will look, with the old building facade being retained.

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage recently asked the Planning Authority for information on the scheduling of the building and has asked whether this has any bearing on the building’s legal protection.

Faced by the original 18-storey development, residents in the area had signed a petition against the development expressing concern on the impact on parking spaces despite the inclusion of four storeys of underground parking.

The Environment and Resources Authority has asked for studies on the projected increase in traffic flows as a result of the proposed development interventions at this site.

Din l-Art Helwa objected to the development because the proposal does not adhere to the Floor Area Ratio policy since all the ground floor area is committed to development with no outdoor area or benefit to the public.

It also called for the preservation of the Wembley building, which it described as an industrial building worthy of preservation.

Emil Bonello Ghio, on behalf of Wembley Ice Cream Factory Limited, presented the Wembley application. A spokesperson for the company had told MaltaToday the aim of the project is to address the growing demand for office space in the country, which could possibly increase after Brexit. “The demand for office space by both local and foreign companies is huge especially from commercial and professional companies… The supply of office space is currently very low and such a project is very timely.”

The plans for the project are being prepared by architect Ray Demicoli. Demicoli was formerly a member of the PA’s Design Advisory Committee, which advises the authority on the design of new buildings.

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