Nationalist Party club on Gzira main road earmarked for nine-storey hotel

PN was paid to cut short its lease • new hotel will rise two storeys above local plan height limits

A nine-storey hotel is expected to replace the Nationalist Party’s political club in Gzira, currently the two-storey Jum l-Indipendenza.

The proposed three-star hotel will include a basement level, ground-floor reception and cafeteria and hotel accommodation up to nine storeys, with a pool deck area on the ninth floor.

Eric Saliba, an employee of J. Portelli Projects, the proponent of the Mercury House high-rise, has presented the application.

If approved, development will actually rise two full storeys and one receded floor above the area’s height limitation, thanks to a policy that allows  hotels to rise two storeys above heights set by the local plan. The streetscape of the area is already dominated by the 21-storey high 14 East tower.

The building was originally earmarked for a five-storey apartment complex, for which a planning permit was issued last June to the sole owner of the property, a certain Mark Agius. In the latest application, Saliba is listed as the full owner.

PN deputy leader Robert Arrigo explained that the lease on the PN club was due to expire in six years’ time. The party was approached by the inheritors of the property to reach an agreement to pay a sum of money and “cut short the lease agreement.”

“After evaluating all offers and negotiating, the PN took the best offer from the landlords,” Arrigo said.

It was only later that the landlords sold the property to third parties, who first applied to turn it into studio apartments and now want to build a nine-storey hotel.

Arrigo explained that due to the structural conditions of the property, a part of which was condemned, the PN reached the conclusion that any more repair works would have resulted in a drain of money. The PN is now actively seeking new premises in Gzira.