An office block consisting of 13 storeys rising up to 45 meters is being proposed in an archaeologically sensitive area in Qormi, a short distance away from a recently discovered Roman tomb and cart ruts.
The development is being proposed on a triangular tract of agricultural land in the vicinity of the roundabout junction between Triq Hal-Qormi, Triq l-Erba Qaddisin and Triq Valletta.
The land includes a historical farmhouse which will be retained in the new project.
The new high rise will be located short distance away from a proposed DIY retail centre opposite the Qormi Park and ride proposed by Centre Park Limited.
Archeological investigations in the area earmarked for the retail development have resulted in the discovery of cart ruts and a Roman tomb which are set to be incorporated in the new development, as approved by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage.
The Superintendence has now ordered an archaeological evaluation of the site proposed for the high rise development.
The proposed development envisages the excavation and construction of a car park at basement level.
The Superintendence warned that these excavations are “likely to uncover yet more unknown archaeological remains located in this area”.
Qormi is not included among the localities identified for high-rise development which is defined by policy as any building over 10 floors high.
But the development is being proposed in the vicinity of Mriehel which was included in the high-rise zone by the government at the latest stage after the conclusion of public consultation on the policy. The high-rise policy failed to define the exact boundaries of the sites proposed for high-rise development.
The Planning Authority is also presently accessing a 17-storey tower in Mriehel proposed by the government owned Malta Industrial Parks after approving four towers belonging to the Gasan and Tumas groups.
The 13-story development is being referred to as a “medium high rise” in the application presented to the Planning Authority last month by Federico Rossi who claims full ownership of the rise..
A low-rise showroom development has already been approved on the site in November 2013.