Government gives golden boost to Joseph Portelli’s Mercury project

Labour party donor and Gozitan construction magnate Joseph Portelli has been given another big push by the government to convert his multi-million euro  Mercury Towers project in Paceville into a cash cow as Finance Minister Clyde Caruana declares it part of Malta’s Special Designated Area (SDA).

Through a legal notice published earlier this week by the Finance Ministry, the government signed off on a law allowing foreigners, including EU citizens, to buy unlimited amounts of property in Mercury Towers and Pender Place while also benefitting from tax incentives.

Property industry sources described it as “a significant government move to make Portelli’s mega project more attractive to multi-millionaire foreign buyers, particularly Russians, Saudis and Chinese, who can invest their cash into multiple properties as an investment.”

The sources said that, while projects such as Portelli’s are normally admitted to the once-restricted Maltese list of SDAs, the government “fast-tracked” his entrance onto the “golden list” while other developers who have been trying to obtain this special status for their projects are being kept waiting.

Portelli has become Malta’s leading developer over the past few years, and is known to enjoy a ‘special relationship’ with the Labour government.

Just before the last election, he organised a private dinner at Ta’ Frenc restaurant for Prime Minister Robert Abela, to which a select few Gozitan businessmen were invited. The next day, Labour announced that its electoral  campaign fund raising marathon had raised a record sum from its Gozo constituency.

The latest financial statements for Mercury Towers reveal that the project is behind schedule, with inauguration being postponed from this year to 2023. The commercial retail mall and Melia Hotel are now expected to open in the last quarter of 2023 .

Besides Portelli, the company’s directors include Stephen Muscat, former CEO of Maltacom (now Go Plc), which used to own the land where the towers are being built, and Peter Portelli, executive secretary of The Strickland Foundation, owner of The Times of Malta.

Stephen Muscat (left) and Peter Portelli (right).

They blamed transport and logistics delays for pushing back the completion date of the project.

The 34-storey building will contain more than 300 apartments, plus 170 luxury  suites measuring 60-square-metres, a retail mall and a hotel. According to the directors, most of the apartments have already been sold on plan.

                           
                               
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carlos
1 month ago

And who says that Malta is not run by this Mafia government?

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 month ago

This is the only way this Government and his cronies know how to do business fast, either by enacting speculation or through the sales of passports. Needless to say that this is good business for those who will put their finger in the pie. Surely, not an opportunity for the normal citizen.

decelis
decelis
1 month ago

I hope that they realize that once this project has been finished the Paceville area needs a serious facelift to enhance the tourist experience.

Last edited 1 month ago by decelis
Edgar gatt
1 month ago

What the hell attracts multi millionaires to buy property in that shit hole area.

Greed
Greed
1 month ago
Reply to  Edgar gatt

To launder there money nothing else and as long as it is laundered they are happy and so is JP as he loves dirty money seemingly?

Anika Psaila Savona
Anika Psaila Savona
30 days ago

The concept of SDA is a way to favour big developers over every other homeowner in the country attempting to sell their property. It places them in an unfair advantage allowing them to push their prices up thus distorting properties prices and the market itself. An examination of which developments have SDA status would be a very telling story.

Gee Muke
Gee Muke
30 days ago

Auditing the payment for these apartments, especially the cash payments, will keep the police busy for a couple of decades.

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