A residential development consisting of three high-rise blocks at Ta’ Giorni is among a spate of new high-rise developments being considered by the Planning Authority in areas which were not earmarked for high-rise developments.
Other newly proposed high-rise developments also include a new business tower in Ta’ Xbiex and an office tower in Marsa in the industrial part of the town overlooking the Grand Harbour.
According to a list tabled in parliament this week by minister Ian Borg, the Planning Authority is presently assessing nine new applications seeking high-rise development using the floor area ration mechanism, through which increase in heights is supposedly compensated by the creation of public open space.
The Floor Area Ratio policy limits high-rise development to Mriehel, Marsa, Gzira, Tigne, Qawra and Paceville but fails to identify the exact areas where these can be located.
In fact the latest list includes proposals in neighbouring localities like Qormi (a 13-storey building opposite the park and ride), Ta’ Xbiex (Testaferrata Street) and Msida (the site of the Wembley factory where a 18-storey tower is being proposed).
One of the most controversial developments is being proposed in a residential part of St Julians, better known as Ta’ Giorni, formerly occupied by the Palms wedding hall in Birkirkara Hill.
The development proposed by Andrew Borg consists of three high-rise blocks reaching a maximum height of 15 floors and will include a central plaza. A high rise development had been proposed in this area in 2004.
A new tower is also being proposed in Testaferrata street (corner with Enrico Mizzi street) in Ta’ Xbiex. The development proposed by developer Michael Stivala includes a 22-storey business tower which will complement the 33-storey tower already approved on the Mira Motors site and two other proposed towers in the area; the 18-storey tower proposed on the Wembley factory and a 14-storey tower on the site of the Paul & Rocco petrol station.
Marsa is also set to see its first tower which is being proposed at Church Wharf in Marsa. The office tower is set to rise to 16 floors and replace an older industrial building.
The list presented in Parliament does not include high-rise hotels which are regulated by another policy and have no requirement to create public open spaces around them. Proposals for high-rise hotels have been made in Smart City (the ITS campus), the Jerma redevelopment in Marsaskala and in Qawra.