‘We’ll give them Tigné in Naxxar if we can have Paceville in Madliena too. Deal?’

The Skinny | No. 60 • Bringing Tigné to Naxxar

What are we skinning? The statement by developer Jean Borg that a proposed 10-storey  would do the necessary work to bring Sliema’s Tigné Point to the town, ridding it of what he claims to be a ‘housing estate’-style conglomeration of buildings at present.

Why are we skinning it? Because it’s yet another example of the glaring self-awareness on the part of Malta’s notoriously blinkered-by-avarice developer class, given that Tigné Point is all but unanimously viewed as an unforgivable eyesore.

But admit it, the whole story also makes for a nice distraction from the protracted US election race. Yes, nothing like yet another depressing tussle between residents and NGOs vs developers and their enablers to take your mind off the international scene…

...by plunging it back down to our floating limestone enclosure with aggressive force. Right.

But if the uproar is so strongly against it, why is the PA even giving the project its due? Well, apart from the ongoing cosiness between the developer class and our vaunted Planning Authority, this case also appears to be a matter of aesthetic judgement – a mini culture war, if you will.

Oh? Yes, the Planning Authority’s own executive chairman Martin Saliba claimed that championing the project means they are “going towards something innovative, rather than the usual mediocrity”.

What, pray tell, are these unquestionably erectable innovations? Well, apparently the design of the mixed-use project – which will incorporate a 253-space underground garage, together with supermarket, restaurants, offices, day-care centre and gymnasium – will be inspired by painter Esprit Barthet’s depiction of the Maltese skyline…

Much like the A3 Towers in Paola were likely inspired by Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’. Right. And there is something diabolically ironic about a project which will potentially scar the Maltese landscape for good claiming to be inspired by sublime depictions of our skyline by a landmark Maltese artist.

It’s a postmodern joke par excellence. I’ve implied that these architects and developers were evil. I never said they’re not clever.

Do say: “Urban rehabilitation is important and necessary, but it should be done with a view to improving the lives of the given town’s residents, not to appease the whims of hungry developers eager to expand their pockets and portfolios.”

Don’t say: “We’ll give them Tigné in Naxxar if we can have Paceville in Madliena too. Deal?”

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