Mercury House developer eyes Qormi 13-storey tower block

Area not scheduled for high-rise proposed for 13-storey office block by Mercury House developer

Portelli’s tower development will comprise the excavation of the site for a three-storey car park for 183 cars, a showroom below street level and a 13-storey office block
Portelli’s tower development will comprise the excavation of the site for a three-storey car park for 183 cars, a showroom below street level and a 13-storey office block

The Gozitan developer behind the Mercury House high-rise in Paceville has set his eyes on a 13-storey tower block in Qormi.

Joseph Portelli is proposing the tower block – which he is describing as a ‘medium rise’ – on the triangular piece of land bordered by Qormi road and Valletta road, and Triq l-Erba Qaddisin.

The development will rise to a maximum of 47 metres above street level and includes three receded floors.

Qormi is not included among the localities identified for high-rise development, which is defined by policy as any building over 10 floors high. Medium-rise developments are defined by policy as buildings under 10 floors.

But the development is being proposed in the vicinity of Mriehel, which was included in the high-rise zone by the government at the latest stage after the conclusion of public consultation. The high-rise policy failed to define the exact boundaries of the sites proposed for high-rise development.

The new project will be located a short distance away from an approved DIY retail centre opposite the Qormi park-and-ride. The PA is currently revising the local plan to allow development on this site to rise to 11 metres above Qormi road, and remove the obligation to develop a landscaped public space on its roof.

Portelli’s tower development will comprise the excavation of the site for a three-storey car park for 183 cars, a showroom below street level and a 13-storey office block.

The site was already proposed for a similar development by Federico Rossi, who claimed ownership of the land. In the latest application Portelli declares being the sole owner of the land in question.

The site has already been subjected to an archaeological investigation ordered by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, which entailed the removal of soil. An old farmhouse found on the same site will be restored and retained according to the developer’s plans. The Qormi local council had objected to the previous application, warning of the visual and traffic impact the office block will have on the entrance to Qormi.

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