Superintendence shoots down proposed Msida 10-storey hotel

Superintendence for Cultural Heritage has deemed the demolition of two 19th century townhouses located behind the Wembley kiosk in Msida to make way for a 10-storey-high bed and breakfast was described 'excessive and unacceptable'

The demolition of two 19th century townhouses located behind the Wembley kiosk in Msida to make way for a 10-storey-high bed and breakfast was described “excessive and unacceptable” by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage.

The two buildings earmarked for demolition date back to the second half of the 19th century.

While the original plans foresaw the complete demolition of the old buildings, the latest plans envision the partial preservation of one of the façades.

But the Superintendence is insisting that “both façades have a degree of historical and architectural value in relation with the existing context and they have to be preserved and integrated into the proposal.”

The façade of the building on the left also included two niches at the level of the opramorta, housing statues of St Roque and St Publius which were removed from the site in unauthorised works denounced by the Superintendence last year.

The niches and the statues have cultural heritage value and are listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands, published in 2018. The Superintendence had expressed “grave concerns” on the unauthorised works which resulted in the removal of the niches and statues.

In the latest communication issued on 10 May the Superintendence reiterated its concern over the disappearance of the statues noting that it is still awaiting “clarification” on the current state of the statues.

The cultural heritage authority also expressed concern on the proposed increase in height, as this will create “a new predominant volume massively impacting the surroundings from numerous points of view, in particular from Triq D’Argens and Msida’s urban conservation area.

The hotel proposed by J&J Holdings will include a parking at basement level, a bar and lobby at ground level, a breakfast area and kitchen on the first floor and 107 rooms constructed on the overlying eight floors. A restaurant and a pool are envisaged on the tenth floor.

In October 2018 the Malta Tourism Authority described the project as an “upgrade to the product” and noted the applicant’s commitment to adopt environmentally-friendly measures.

 

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