The lido cinema in Birżebbuġa is set to make way for 20 new apartments after the Superinetendence for Cultural Heritage gave its blessing to the demolition after noting the “advanced state of deterioration of the property.”
However the Superintendence has asked the developers to retain some of the architectural features on the facade and to integrate them in the new design. The latest plans did not retain any part of the old building’s facade.
The new development proposed by Ta’ Dernis Limited will include 13 garages at street level, 2 offices, a maisonette and 20 apartments. The apartments are already on sale on Maltapark.com even if no permit has been issued by the Planning Authority.
Contacted by The Shift the developer made it clear that the apartments are being sold on condition that a permit is issued by the Planning Authority. Any loans issued by the banks are also conditional on a building permit he added.
The property in question was constructed in 1946 and served as a very popular cinema. The building was constructed in the art-deco style, a prominent style commonly used for large civil buildings in the post war period. The Birżebbuġa cinema has been abandoned for at least the past decade.
Din l-Art Helwa is objecting to the demolition of the entire building and has called for the retention of the facade. Ruben Abela, a former chief executive of the Malta Environment and Resources Authority described any eventual approval of the development as “a loss for our modern architectural heritage.”