[WATCH] A new sustainable masterplan for Manoel Island

A new sustainable masterplan for the restoration and development of Manoel Island to the Planning Authority creates a greater public open space

Entrance to Manoel Island
Entrance to Manoel Island

MIDI plc has submitted a new sustainable masterplan for the restoration and development of Manoel Island to the Planning Authority (PA) and a revised Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the Environmental Resources Authority (ERA).

In this revised masterplan the footprint of the new buildings to be developed on Manoel Island has been scaled down from to 10% of the site area from 26% as originally contemplated. Likewise gross floor area of the new buildings is significantly reduced as this now totals 55,000sqm compared to the 95,000sqm in the original masterplan. 

The revised masterplan aims to create a more sustainable development, which boasts 192,000sqm of open spaces, of which 175,000sqm is public open space (equivalent to twenty-two football pitches). This represents an increase of approximately 20% when compared to the original masterplan.  

The decision to revise the masterplan is a result of the site investigations carried out, during the last twenty-four months, under the supervision of an independent archaeologist approved by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage (SCH). The areas investigated were highlighted, in the Cultural Heritage Report forming part of the 2018 EIA, as archaeologically sensitive requiring further investigation. The investigations established that a large part of the site, which was previously earmarked for development, is of archaeological importance. This prompted MIDI to draw up a new masterplan for Manoel Island.

Public open spaces

Apart from the 80,000sqm Glacis Park surrounding Fort Manoel the revised masterplan provides for a new public open space measuring 35,000sqm at the heart of the development. This new open space stretches from the entrance to Manoel Island to the quayside of the Lazzaretto. The plan is for this area to be landscaped to provide a destination including amenities for the enjoyment of the public.         

Elimination of land reclamation

One of the main key improvements of the revised masterplan is the elimination of the reclamation of the sea area immediately in front of the Gzira promenade. This will help to reduce the impact of the development on the Gzira community by ensuring that no development takes place immediately in front of the promenade.

Yacht Marina

The revised masterplan contemplates a complete overhaul of the existing yacht marina to provide safe berthing for yachts of varying size. In the new masterplan, protection will be provided by a floating breakwater thus mitigating the environmental impact associated with developing a solid breakwater.


In the new masterplan, sustainability is a key factor. A water conservation management plan, which will see rainwater harvesting, collection and treatment of grey water for irrigation and utilisation of the Island’s existing reservoirs, has been put in place. The new buildings have likewise been designed to conserve energy, considering the best use of daylight while installing glazing and shading devices alongside energy efficient lighting, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

Car free environment

To reduce Manoel Island’s carbon footprint further and create a largely pedestrianised car-free streetscape, vehicular access will be limited. Apart from the main throughways, cars will be directed to underground public and private car parking facilities, which will be supplemented by electric charging points.

Commercial component

The commercial component in the revised masterplan is designed around the historical Cattle Shed and the Customs House. 

Heritage Buildings

No efforts have been spared to ensure that all the heritage buildings will be restored and given a new lease of life, in particular the Lazzaretto which will be used for mixed use and hospitality purposes. The restoration of the heritage buildings will be undertaken at an estimated cost of more than €40 million, which includes the works already undertaken to restore Fort Manoel to its former glory. 

Sporting facilities  

MIDI will also develop new sporting facilities which will revert to Government for the benefit of the local community. The facilities include a full-size football pitch for Gzira United FC and a Bocci Club. 


Furthermore, the existing slipway, which is situated on the north side of the Island and used by local fishing, kayak and sailing enthusiasts, will be upgraded as part of the development. 

Guardianship agreement

The Manoel Island Foundation, which was set-up by the Gzira Local Council and MIDI, will continue to act as guardian in line with the Guardianship Deed, thus ensuring that the public interest is always safeguarded, in particular with respect to access to the foreshore, protection of the heritage buildings, the provision of public open spaces and building heights. 

As a responsible developer MIDI will continue to work closely and transparently with all stakeholders, by listening, engaging, and providing updates throughout the project, thereby ensuring the delivery of significant benefits to the community for the long term.”