Developers association critical of payment terms afforded to the Fortina Group

The Malta Developers Association says the €8.1 million price tag Fortina will pay is ‘fair and reasonable’ but the payment terms are ‘over generous’

The site in Sliema owned by the Fortina Group
The site in Sliema owned by the Fortina Group

A concession granted to the Fortina Group to pay €8.1 million over a 10-year span is “unnecessarily over generous”, the Malta Developers Association said.

The association said the sum requested by the government from the Fortina Group to lift a land use restriction was, however, “fair and reasonable”.

The Fortina Group had asked the government to waive a restriction on part of the land it owns in Sliema that prevented the company from developing the site other than for touristic purposes.

A valuation carried out by the Lands Authority concluded that Fortina would have to pay €8.1 million to have the restriction lifted. The company wants to redevelop the site on the Sliema seafront where it had the old hotel, into a mixed-use development containing offices and residences.

The motion to lift the restriction, including the price tag and payment terms, was approved by parliament on Wednesday with the Opposition voting against.

The MDA on Thursday reiterated its stand that public land should not be sold to private entrepreneurs and developers at prices below current market prices.

However, the association insisted that the decision concerning the Fortina Group was not one that concerned the selling of public land. “This was a question of the state being paid for accepting to waive a limiting condition on the development of the land, which the private owners were bound to observe… Comparing the premium paid for this waiver with the absolute value of the land is, therefore, incorrect,” the MDA said.

The association insisted the price tag asked of the Fortina Group was fair but the terms of payment were “unnecessarily over generous”.

READ ALSO: Parliament approves lifting of tourism restriction on Fortina Group’s Sliema land

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