Two separate planning applications for an eight-storey apartment block and for the first phase of a development which will see the construction of a four-star hotel with a similar height overlooking Xlendi Bay have been filed at the Planning Authority.
The two applications – PA 4587/20 and PA 3818/20 – were filed separately by two different applicants – and nothing indicates that the applicants are somehow related – but will end up neighbouring each other if they are both approved.
Both properties, if approved and built, will tower over Xlendi Bay and add to the increasing number of new, high buildings in an area which has begun to become synonymous with the spread of Malta-like levels of development to Gozo.
PA 4587/20 is an application filed by Mark Agius on behalf of Excel Investments Limited – a company which is directed by Gozitan property magnate Joseph Portelli who has a myriad of massive developments across Malta and Gozo in his name.
The application is centred on the site of the Hotel Xlendi Spa & Resort, which is connected with two streets – Triq San Xmun and Triq il-Punici. The former street is along the hillside, looking down on Xlendi Bay, while the latter runs parallel directly behind it.
The application is for the “proposed demolition of the existing building and the subsequent excavation of site as phase 1 of a redevelopment project.”
The project description report uploaded as part of this application indicates what phase 2 of the project will be: “to construct a 4 star hotel (80+ rooms and ancillary facilities) together with 5 levels of parking, the majority of which shall be located below street level at Triq San Xmun.”
However, the aforementioned phase 2 of the project does not form part of this application – indeed there is no application whatsoever for it so far.
It is not the first time that the application process for a project is divided into parts; several other projects – such as the Manoel Island project and the db CityCentre project in Pembroke – have gone on in such a manner, with the application for excavation works being separate from the application for the reconstructed project itself.
Plans submitted – but superseded by another document which is not on the PA’s database – indicate how the project may look if it is approved and built.
The building would comprise of a total of 13 above ground floors – with the property starting in Triq San Xmun and rising from there. Eight of those levels will be above Triq il-Punici. Another four levels are planned solely as parking underneath Triq San Xmun.
The above-floor areas will be made up mostly of accommodation, along with a multi-purpose hall, yoga studio, indoor pool and spa, and guest breakfast buffet area. A pool deck will grace the top level of the building.
It should be noted that the PA’s case officer has not made any recommendation on the project thus far, and similarly, several entities have not shared their recommendations or concerns on the project yet.
The second application meanwhile – PA 3818/20 – is an application filed by Joseph Vella solely placed on Triq il-Punici and is to construct three basement levels for 56 garages, and an overlying 60 apartments and 6 penthouses spread across eight floors.
The project’s architectural drawings indicate that the block will be finished with brickwork and apertures in three uninspiring shades of grey.
The site itself is currently vacant and undeveloped, but it is right next to the aforementioned hotel application.
In the case officer’s report, the case officer recommended the application for approval, noting that it conforms to the local plan for Gozo and Comino and that “the development as proposed respects the relative allowable height and street façade height in metres when measured from the highest pavement level on Triq il-Punici.”
The case officer noted in response to a representation which cited concerns over parking that there is a shortfall of eight parking spaces in the project, but described this as “not excessive” and therefore can be mitigated through a contribution to the Planning Authority’s Urban Improvements Fund for the locality – which is technically Munxar.
The case officer stated that the contribution should be of €41,000 which “shall be used to fund traffic management, green transport, urban improvements or similar projects.”
Original article found on The Malta Independent