Project proposals for four government properties selected

Four government properties will be rehabilitated, creating jobs and economic viability

Government properties to be rehabilitated

Proposals for the enhancement of four government properties have been selected and talks regarding these projects are now underway. 

Parliamentary secretary for planning Michael Falzon said that the government had, in October 2013, issued expressions of interest for the four sites with the aim of enhancing public property through rehabilitation and increasing economic viability through the creation of employment opportunities. The four sites that had been identified by the government were the Mtarfa Isolation hospital, the Strickland Palace in Mgarr, the Marfa Palace and a site in Busbesija, Mosta.

"The government plans on giving out a 45-year lease with the aim of allowing investors to properly develop their projects while at the same time avoiding stagnation of projects," Falzon said addressing journalists at a press conference at the lands department.

Falzon said that there were initially a total of 23 suggestions made, but ultimately ten formal proposals detailing plans about the use of the building, investment needed and employment generated as well as the annual lease offer, were submitted. Falzon explained that the isolation hospital, Strickland palace and Busbesija site had three proposals each submitted, whereas the Marfa palace had only one project submitted.

"The proposals were then viewed by a committee made up of various experts in architecture, conservation, and legal sectors which made recommendations for the best project for each location, with the appropriate companies having already been contacted. The projects were chosen both for their economic and social potential," he said. 

"The Mtarfa isolation hospital would be taken over by Malta Health Care Caterers, with the aim of converting it into a home for the elderly with a focus on dementia cases, a reality that is unfortunately on the rise." 

He added that the Marfa Palace would be turned into a prestigious boutique hotel by Exclusivity Malta Ltd and that the Strickland House in Mgarr would be restored into an agritourism project by the Frott Artna Agritourism Consortium.

"The Busbesija project in Mosta will be turned into a sports complex and shooting range, by U Group Malta Ltd." he added. 

Falzon said that the contract would ultimately be presented in parliament for approval and that the projects all aimed to incentivize business and boost the economy. He added that if any of the projects fell short of their contracts, the government would look to the other applicants once again.

"We also look forward to announcing the shop scheme, which will be piloting in Valletta soon. The project will be a further fulfilment of budgetary measures and promises, " Falzon added.

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