Request for a four-star hotel in Augustinian soil in Paceville to be decided on Thursday


Kevin Schembri Orland

Tuesday December 4th, 2018, 09:53
Last update: about 4 years ago

The request for a new four-star hotel with 138 rooms adjacent to Bay Street is expected to be decided on Thursday by the Planning Authority Board.

The app has sparked some controversy. It was revealed earlier this year that the land, which was used as a makeshift parking lot, will be leased to the owners of the Bay Street complex and will be developed by Bay Street Holdings, whose owners include GAP’s George Muscat. Holdings and Paul Camilleri.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna had asked the Church Environment Commission to review the case. The Environment Committee, in its report of October 5, recommended reviewing the plans because “the development is contrary to the Floor Area Ratio policy; The site is not suitable for the development of a high rise building (i.e. a building with more than 10 storeys. A twelve storey facade facing Upper Triq Santu Wistin is excessive and seriously encroaches on residents. and street users nearby. One story building is excessively close to the priory which is a category 2 listed building ”.

“If a development at the St Rita site is to be carried out, KA believes that this should take place as part of a public consultation exercise which determines the optimal use of such site, and not exclusively in terms of future income stream for the homeowner, but in terms of the future benefits that may result to the Paceville / Swieqi communities and visitors to the area, ”the Church Environment commission said.

The provincial of the Augustinian order, owner of the land in question, defended the project. Father Leslie Gatt had said the proceeds from the agreement would help the order invest in its religious, social and educational efforts. He added that the money would also be used for the restoration and maintenance of several historic buildings belonging to the order, which are part of the country’s heritage.

The proposed development aims to provide four-star accommodation with a total number of 138 rooms with an approximate area of ​​28 m² each, the report of the officer in charge of the case said.

The site has a trapezoidal shape and has facades on two different roads: a 75.1 meter facade on Sqaq Lourdes and a 66 meter facade on Triq Santu Wistin. “It covers an area of ​​approximately 2,192 square meters (m²) which, until recently, served as open street-level parking with capacity for 94 parking spaces accessible from Sqaq Lourdes. The proposal is located within the boundaries of the Paceville residential buffer zone. The site is on the southern flank of St George’s Bay in Paceville, on the lower grounds of the front part of St Rita’s Chapel / St Augustine’s Convent, which are Category 2 listed buildings

The site will include six underground levels for parking, which will also house a gym, sauna and swimming pool, conference room and games room. It will also rise 12 levels above ground, which includes the ground floor. In total, there will be 231 parking spaces.

The Superintendent of Cultural Heritage, along with others, have raised concerns about the proposed development, given that it is located near a level 2 listed property (Convent of the Monks of St. Augustine and Chapel of St. Rita) of architectural value.

The case officer’s report notes that the architect submitted correspondence indicating that the restoration of the Santa Rita Chapel will improve the visual appeal and modernization of the surrounding location, since the building is currently in serious condition. neglected. “In addition, the proposed introduction of a public square is a positive contribution to the area acting as a contemporary forecourt in which various activities can take place. The open space includes movable benches and movable planters so that the space can be manipulated to accommodate various functions with different spatial requirements, thus increasing the degree of pedestrian activity contributing to the revitalization of the place.

The case officer, in his report, noted that “the four-star accommodation will provide a good transition between commercial and residential activity given its layout and site coverage which is focused on the entertainment center. noisy and the open space is planned to be located next to the quiet residential area.

In terms of height limitations, “The proposal therefore falls within the permitted height of 32.2m as previously described and the provisions of the hotel policy.”

Din L-Art Helwa had filed a letter of representation, arguing that DLH is concerned about the effects of such a large-scale construction, namely the traffic jams it will cause, the large blind party wall created and the planned grade building. 2 who will be overwhelmed by this imposing structure next to her.

The case officer recommended that the project be approved.

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