Jerma development in Marsaskala to include 170 apartments

New development replacing the derelict Jerma hotel in Marsaskala will rise to eight floors and will be 9m higher than historical St Thomas Tower

The ex-Jerma hotel site in Marsaskala: a proposed development brief will mean the site will cater for 170 apartments besides a hotel
The ex-Jerma hotel site in Marsaskala: a proposed development brief will mean the site will cater for 170 apartments besides a hotel

The derelict Jerma hotel site will include between 150 and 170 apartments, according to an assessment of a proposed development brief carried out by a heritage NGO.

The estimate was made by Din l-Art Ħelwa’s resident Professor Alex Torpiano and was confirmed by Planning Authority officials attending a meeting of parliament’s environment and development planning committee.

The committee met on Tuesday to discuss a proposed development brief for the Jerma area recently issued for public consultation.

The 170-apartment estimate is based on the allotted 26,000sq.m of residential development envisaged in the development brief for the Jerma.

Original plans by the government issued last December in the last days of the Muscat government had proposed a staggering 40,000sq.m of residential development out of a total of 100,000sq.m allocated for the mixed-use development.

But following concern that this would translate into high-rise developments, the floor area of the project was reduced to 65,000sq.m, of which 26,000sq.m will be residential.

Torpiano expressed concern that this will still result in excessive heights in an area characterised by two-storey development and warned that this would trigger other seven-storey developments in this part of Marsaskala.

Torpiano, an architect, disagreed with the idea of allowing higher buildings along the coastline, with their backs turned on lower residential buildings further inland.

PA chairman Martin Saliba also revealed that the project would have a maximum height of 32 metres, which translates to between seven and eight storeys, making the development 9m higher than St Thomas Tower in the vicinity.
A development application presented two years ago by developer Charles Camilleri envisaged development rising up to 14 floors.

Saliba gave a breakdown of the components of the project, with development being restricted to a footprint of 17,700sq.m occupied by the derelict Jerma hotel.

A floor area of 33,000sq.m will be allocated for hotel development while 26,000sq.m will be allocated for residential development.

No offices will be allowed in the Jerma site while 5,000sq.m is being allocated for retail and catering establishments.

The design of the new development will consist of a series of building blocks around a central public and open plaza.

Saliba insisted that the visual link from the tower to the sea would be retained.

Local Council representative John Baptist Camilleri insisted that the height of the project should not rise above the historical tower.

He also insisted that traffic should not pass around the tower in front of the existing villas but should pass through an underpass. Camilleri also insisted that Marsaskala needs a hotel but does not need any more residential units.

He also insisted on the immediate demolition of the Jerma eye sore. 

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