Fortina will pay €8.1 million for tourism restriction to be lifted on its Sliema land

Fortina considers premium too high but it will meet request

An artist's impression of the Fortina development in Sliema
An artist's impression of the Fortina development in Sliema

The Fortina Group will pay €8.1 million to the government for a restriction of use to be lifted on part of the Sliema land it owns.

The company said in a statement that the restriction concerned a landlocked plot measuring 1,250sq.m that Fortina has owned for 30 years.

The restriction meant that the company could only use the land in question for tourism-related purposes. The plot formed part of a much larger area on which the Fortina Hotel was built.

Fortina has demolished the hotel and has obtained a planning permit to build a large office block, residences and a hotel. The offices are expected to house a large gaming company that is relocating to Malta.

The group said that it had applied with the Lands Authority two years ago to have the tourism restriction lifted on part of its Sliema site.

After a valuation of the site, the Lands Authority requested a premium of €8.1 million for the restriction to be lifted.

Fortina said it considered the premium to be “far in excess of market value”, especially considering similar agreements approved by Parliament in the past. However, the company said it will meet the request.

A spokesperson for Fortina said: “The premium upon which we agreed works out at circa €6,480 per square metre of buildable area, which is an enormous sum of money, especially when one considers that we already have full ownership of the land in question.”

The spokesperson added that 85% of this particular plot will still be occupied by a newly-refurbished five-star hotel and associated amenities.

“What we are effectively talking about is a very small landlocked area, which is being converted to residential and commercial use,” the company insisted.

It was reacting to a Times of Malta report that quoted unnamed sources saying the valuation and the terms agreed for the restriction to be lifted were “ridiculous”.

The newspaper said Fortina would be paying €1 million upfront and the rest spread out over a 10-year period.

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