A group of very well-connected developers, top-notch lawyers, auditors and others with massive commercial interests are behind the speculative 10-storey mega-development being proposed in Naxxar, which residents say will suffocate one of the last open spaces in the locality.
Research conducted by The Shift shows that the massive mixed development, which includes more than 100 new apartments, large commercial premises for restaurants and bars, a supermarket and other amenities, involves high profile individuals pushing to turn the massive open space in front of the old Trade Fair Grounds into a lucrative investment.
The shareholders in SPTT Properties Ltd include a cobweb of some 11 different companies and many other individuals who are putting their money together for this ‘investment opportunity’. The group is fronted by developer Jean Borg, the sole director of a fiduciary company, who has been involved in many major developments.
The larger investors include In Space Ltd, owned by Lisa and Roy Sciortino, residing in Tigne, and Duovest Realty Malta Ltd owned by companies whose beneficial owner is a Dutch businessman.
Many others, including the President of the Chamber of Advocates Louis De Gabriele, as well as Henri Mizzi (his colleague in the law firm Camilleri Preziosi), are representing interests as nominees. Property law expert Norvel Desira is also involved.
The ten-storey development that will dwarf its surroundings includes among its investors the owners of Belair real estate agency, Simon, Marcel and Ian Casolani.
The Eden Group’s Decesare families are also involved, through two separate companies – one for Ian Decesare and his children, and another for Kevin Decesare and his children.
The former chairperson of the Malta Gaming Authority, Marlene Seychell, also has a stake.
JND Properties Ltd owned by David, Emanuel and John Aquilina, and LA Developments owned by Ryan Azzopardi and Daniel Lapira also hold significant interests in the development being proposed, as well as Kyle Azzopardi, the owner of the Tip Toes shoe stores chain, and Gordon Camilleri and Paul Darmanin, a director and former partner at the Deloitte auditing firm.
Interestingly, J&J Holdings Ltd, which according to the Malta Business Registry was struck off several years ago, also holds 50,000 shares in this development.
The development, which will occupy more than 5,000 square metres, is being opposed by hundreds of Naxxar residents and the local council.
So far, the Planning Authority (PA) has not approved this massive development. Yet the developers have been given the chance to modify their plans and come back with a new design for the final green light.
Industry sources said that those involved in this development “are very well connected” and will end up getting their way after some cosmetic changes to make the development seem acceptable for the PA.
Although no permit has yet been given, and officially there is no guarantee that this will be the case, the sale of apartments has already started.
Various real estate agencies are marketing semi-finished apartments for sale at a starting price of some €190,000.
This proposed development is separate from a larger one for the area being proposed instead of the former Trade Fair grounds where the heirs of Marquis John Scicluna want to build some 22 blocks of apartments and penthouses.
If approved, these two projects will completely change the characteristics of Naxxar and its surroundings.