The Malta Independent 14 December 2018, Friday

Government reaches agreement for mixed-use complex including 7-star hotel at White Rocks

Julian Bonnici Sunday, 14 January 2018, 11:00 Last update: about 12 months ago

The White Rocks Development Consortium (WRDC) has reached an agreement with the government for the construction of a mixed-used complex on the Pembroke site, which will include a seven-star luxury hotel, along with leisure, hospitality, residential and commercial units, representatives from the consortium have told The Malta Independent on Sunday.

The consortium was approached by this newsroom after Minister for the Economy Chris Cardona said that negotiations were about to be finalised on TVM programme Disset.

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The total investment is expected to be €400 million, and will also see large portions of the site dedicated to public space, including a 100,000-square-metre garrigue heritage park, public access to the shoreline, and coastline restoration. 

Full disclosure of the price will be made in a separate company statement, but the newsroom was assured that “it is high when considering all development costs involved. Ultimately, it is at the higher end of market prices.”

The project will consist of the construction low-lying buildings and extensive landscaping, with substantial investment in infrastructure.

“The views currently enjoyed by residents in the area and motorists using the coast road will remain uninterrupted and actually improve this view through extensive landscaping and reorganisation of the site into dedicated public spaces,” the WRDC said.

“Furthermore, we will be setting a benchmark in sustainable construction and operation by managing a self-contained site that limits disruption to the country’s daily activity.”

The site’s total area is 449,885 square metres, but with less than 15 per cent of the total site area to be developed, the WRDC said that this was a “‘redevelopment” project and the size will remain similar to the existing developed area.”

It was explained that the original structures will not be retained as they consider them to be unsafe due their current dilapidated state.

The Malta Independent on Sunday was told that the buildings were constructed in the 1960s and are not considered to be of architectural, historical, or cultural value.

“Obviously, such points are still to be taken up with the Planning Authority (PA), since any development will always be subject to approval.”

The developers hope that works will be carried out once the permits are issued by the PA.

“As can be imagined, we have contractual obligations with the government specifying dates of commencement and completion. This will not be an open-ended project. We are contractually committed to a deadline.”

Described as the “most significant investment in tourism, hospitality and residential development of its kind in Malta’s history,” the WRDC told this newsroom:

“Our vision for the White Rocks is to deliver a development like no other; the first real FDI project in the tourism sector for many decades, which will reposition Malta  as a prime destination in Europe through a 7-star tourism and residential development complemented by unprecedented private-sector investment in top quality infrastructure.”

Eleven proposals had been submitted in the call for expressions of interest in the project in 2014, and after two years of negotiations, it was the WRDC, a consortium made up of a number of local and foreign companies, that was selected.

The consortium is made up of: London & Regional Holdings, which includes Livingstone Brothers (Richard and Ian Livingstone) with a net value asset of the group of €5 billion; Alpine Group, with MHRA president Tony Zahra as one of its directors; Bonnici Brothers, which is a construction company owned by Emanuel Bonnici, John Bonnici and Mario Bonnici; Mizzi Holdings Ltd, owned by Maurice Mizzi, Brian Mizzi and Kenneth Mizzi; Michael Bianchi who is an investor in various companies and is one of the directors in Airport Investment Ltd; Sea Estate Ltd whose sole director is Joseph Eucharist Vella who also owns Karkanja Ltd; and Elma Ltd whose directors are Dennis Baldacchino, who owns Tal-Maghtab Construction Ltd, and Charles Ellul, director of Elbros Construction Ltd.

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