Regeneration project for landmark Macina bastion building receives green light

MEPA board approves last project of the Cottonera waterfront revival area.

The Malta Environment and Planning Authority board today approved the last project related to the Cottonera waterfront revival area.
The project will include works for the adaptive re-use of the Il-Macina bastion building to accommodate a mixture of exhibition space, conference facilities and catering establishments. 

Works will not only include the restoration of the entire building, including the removal of a number of accretions but also the reconstruction of an area within the bastion building which had been severally damaged in the Second World War.

Works on the annex, which is situated adjacent to the Macina, will include the demolition of the second floor and the portico at ground floor, both of which are considered to be accretions to the original building. 

At roof level, a restaurant with outside seating facilities will be developed. This catering facility will replace an existing building. Additionally, a boundary wall which leads onto Misrah Mittrovich will be replaced by a wrought iron gate to allow pedestrians to access the roof level from the Pjazza.

To improve and facilitate vertical access between Triq 31 ta' Marzu, which is along ix-Xatt tal-Isla and the roof of the Macina two public lifts are to be installed.

The shear bastion building derives its name from 'macchina', a mechanism which was used for ship mast fitting. The machine was originally made of strong hardwood, but in 1864 the British changed it to a modernised steel structure. In 1927, the machine was dismantled by the Admiralty in favour of a floating lift crane.

Il-Macina has subsequently been used for a variety of purposes including the Admiralty's Head Office, a Trade School and the Headquarters of the Malta Labour Party.

This project, same as with all the other planning applications related to the regeneration of the Cottonera Waterfront, was exempt from providing parking provisions or having to contribute towards the Urban Improvement Fund.

This exemption had been given following an agreement the Government had made with the Consortium a number of years back. Government had taken on the responsibility to build a public car park in the area known as Ta' Santa Margherita, to accommodate the increase in parking requirements. 

I used to spend hours in that building!