PA APPROVES REVISED MASTERPLAN FOR MANOEL ISLAND GUARANTEEING MORE PUBLIC OPEN SPACES

March, 07, 2019

The Planning Board approved significant revisions to the 1999 Masterplan for the redevelopment of Manoel Island. The newly approved permit achieves a better balance between massing and open spaces through changes in the building configuration. The new masterplan includes a reduction in the total usable floor area of 8,000m2 and a reduction in the commercial aspect to allow for more residential units and public open spaces.

Fort Manoel which in the 1999 approved Masterplan consisted in the development of commercial and office spaces has now changed.  The Fort will now have a better mix of cultural and commercial uses, for the enjoyment of both locals and tourists alike.

While the majority of the eligible floor area will be dedicated to residences, the project has been redesigned in such a way so as to create clusters that form an organised yet natural urban setting. The commercial hub will primarily be located in the centre of the island. Manoel Square, the Admiralty Square, and the Cattle Shed will all be rehabilitated as commercial developments. Such spaces will also be linked to the waterfront’s Marina Square through Bovile Street, which will be characterised by exclusive shops, restaurants, and cafes intended to create the main social hub.

The existing Boat Builder’s Workshop building will be rehabilitated into residential units. A sports campus, which will include the Gzira football clubhouse and pitch, tennis courts, and ancillary sporting facilities will serve as an important community hub.

The issue of accessibility and connectivity was also addressed, enabling ease of access for all users through a proper balance between the public and private spaces. To facilitate traffic management and mitigation measures the newly approved permit will also see the repositioning of the main entrance bridge into Manoel Island. A secondary lightweight bridge will be constructed only to cater for pedestrians and cyclists alike, promoting alternative means of transportation including by bus and by water taxis and ferries through the designated berthing points. The majority of the island will also be pedestrian-friendly, with very limited access to exceptional circumstances and emergencies. All 2,581 car parking and service facilities will be located below ground level and accessed through the main entrance node of the island.

To further enhance the approved Marina and to cater for the current market preferences, a modern high quality integrated waterfront and marina facilities with hotels, retail, restaurants, and residences are being permitted as an attractive high-end destination. All berthing facilities will be complemented and protected by the construction of a breakwater, relocated from that approved in the previous master plan.