Plans for the site of the former Jerma Palace Hotel will not emphasize the height of the building, which means that the Saint Thomas de Marsascala tower will be visible from the sea, local mayor Mario Calleja said. .
Asked what he would like to see happen to the site of the Jerma Hotel, which has been derelict since the hotel closed some 15 years ago, Calleja said Malta Independent that he expected a “very nice project” to take place there.
He said that although he did not have specific details of the site plans, he had been informed that the planned development would not see major building heights, to the point that St Thomas’ Tower – which is in front of the site – would be visible from the sea after the completion of the project.
Calleja stressed that people don’t want a “gigantic” app on the site, noting that there had been three such developer apps that the board had all spoken out against.
“We want there to be development, but it has to be sustainable and it cannot hinder the people who live there,” said Calleja, who represents the PL on the council.
The Jerma Palace Hotel was an important part of Marsascala’s economy until it closed in 2007, and has been left derelict ever since.
Many applications have been submitted on the site since.
In 2008 the then owners of the site – the Montebello brothers behind JPM Construction – applied for a new hotel and apartment blocks on the site – but that fell flat after the Premier of the At the time, Lawrence Gonzi said only a hotel, not apartments, could be developed on the site.
Another attempt was made in 2016 by developer Charles Camilleri through his company Porto Notos Ltd to demolish the existing hotel and replace it with a huge high-rise development consisting of two residential towers, one of 44 and the other of 32 floors, as well as a 22-floor Hotel on the site.
The proposal – which Calleja coined “the Three Towers” during his interview with this newsroom – was later scaled down to 12- and 13-story units respectively and has since been withdrawn.
It was removed because Camilleri had sold the site to another developer – Gozitan real estate tycoon Joseph Portelli – in a deal that would have 90 million euros.
In 2016, PN Councilor Charlot Cassar had alternatively suggested that the government but the Hotel Jerma land and turn it into an open space for public use.
Portelli has since said he wants to turn the site into a 130-apartment complex, a 500-room hotel and a public square in front of St. Thomas’s Tower.
He said the project will not be a skyscraper, but a development brief approved by Cabinet around this time last year allows for development of up to eight floors. This development dossier also introduces the possibility of residential development, after the 2006 local plan identified the site as to be used primarily for tourist accommodation.
The exact plans and designs for Portelli’s proposed development on the site have yet to be revealed, as an application for the project has not yet been lodged with the planning authority.