Ħondoq owners want €17 million from State for expropriation

Gozo Prestige 'open to talks' on sale of land to State

The owners of the land at Ħondoq ir-Rummien have told government ministers they will relinquish their rights to the land they want developed into a massive 200-yacht marina with hotel and villas, for €17 million. 

Gozo Prestige Holidays, which is owned by businessman Victor Bajada, has told the Maltese government, informed the government it is now open to discussing a resolution – possibly a sale of the land to the State – to resolve the impasse on their Ħondoq plans. 

The company originally acquired the land from the Dominican Order for just €23,000 (Lm10,000) in 1988, at a full sale price of €1.5 million should the company be awarded a development permit for its yacht marina. 

At the rate of valuation, Gozo Prestige Holidays would stand to have a return of 11 times over its original purchase price. 

But since its attempts at obtaining planning permission, Gozo Prestige has always failed in obtaining his coveted permit. 

Indeed, in the letter sent to the Maltese government, the company acknowleged that its project faced considerable opposition from various quarters; and also passed non-judgemental observations about political proposals to expropriate the land so as to return it to the public. 

The company is being represented by lawyer Carmelo Galea, who forms part of the company that took control of vast swathes of land in Qala and Nadur through a feudal title claimed through the lineage of the Stagno Navarra family. 

In the communication to the government, Galea attached a valuation by architect Edward Bencini of €17 million due to its unique siting for high-end tourism, and the reference to tourism development made in the Gozo & Comino Local Plan, tagging it at a price of €400 per square metre on the open market. The total site is over 42,000 square metres. 

In the letter to the government, Galea insisted that while the land was developable under the terms of the Gozo & Comino Local Plan of 2006, the company could consider requesting some form of financial compensation for the expenses it incurred throughout its unsuccessful planning saga and the loss of value to the land. 

Indeed, Galea said the company would take all legal measures necessary and take the case right up to the European Court of Human Rights. 

But he said Gozo Prestige was open to a discussion on transferring the land to the State upon fair compensation.