DB Group’s 38 storey tower recommended for approval

A final decision will be taken on the 20 September

The Planning Directorate has recommended that the DB Group's Hard Rock Hotel be approved
The Planning Directorate has recommended that the DB Group's Hard Rock Hotel be approved

The Planning Directorate is recommending the approval of the 38-storey tower and a 17-storey hotel on the former site of the Institute of Tourism Studies, which has been leased to the DB group for 99 years.

A final decision will be taken on 20 September by the Planning Authority board.

The report skirts questions on the visual impact of the project, arguing that, “tall buildings are by default unequivocally conspicuous”.  It also states that “the impacts on the visual amenity and landscape where a known concern from the outset”.

The development is seen as a “landmark building” in a locality identified by the policy on tall buildings as a designated appropriate location for high-rises due to its predominance in tourism and leisure uses.

The application is being recommended for approval.

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The development proposes an overall gross floor area of 109,919 square meters, consisting of a 73 metres high hotel with an overall area of 51,417 sq.m., and a 141 metres high residential tower with 1,090 sq.m. retail area and 32,713 sq.m. residential area.  The development also includes a shopping mall with 18,753 sq.m. of commercial space.

The case officer acknowledges that the project will have a considerable visual impact but adds that these should be considered by the PA within the context of plans for the area, which increase the likelihood that the project would visually blend with similar buildings in the future.

This permission is subject to a planning gain to the value of €1,451,075 which is to be paid to the the Planning Authority’s Planning Fund.

The funds raised from the planning gain will be used to fund environmental improvement projects in the locality of the site.

Transport Malta recently issued its clearance for the development of the 38-storey residential tower and 17-storey hotel on the site formerly occupied by the Institute of Tourism Studies.

It said however that the clearance was conditional on the government presenting a “letter of commitment” to implement the “required transport infrastructure within an appropriate time-frame” – a tunnel link that will ensure traffic generated by the City Centre project does not result in traffic exceeding the road capacity.

Together with other projects earmarked in St George’s Bay, and primarily the approved Villa Rosa project, the development is expected to increase the flow of traffic to the area by an average of 7,000 daily car trips.

READ MORE: Pembroke residents turn to President for help in stopping ITS-site project

The Pembroke, Swieqi and St Julian’s local councils had opposed the project.

The only change made to the project was an eight-meter reduction in the height of the tower and the removal of one floor in the height of the hotel.

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