A high-quality design project, which comprises a hotel and two residential blocks will replace the derelict Grand Hotel Verdala which was built in 1970 along the ridge-edge of Tal-Virtu limits of Rabat.
Following the approval of the outline development permit, one year back, today the Planning Board granted this project full development permission for the demolition of the old, abandoned hotel and its redeveloped into a mixed-use project.
The PA’s Development Management Directorate cited that the project positively ticks several important planning requirements. Primarily, due to the introduction of terraced setbacks, some of which were self-imposed, the massing and visual impact on the sensitive skyline on the ridge-edge of Rabat/Mdina will be significantly reduced from what is existing today.
The Directorate also noted that through the reduction in the building height and good architectural treatment, the project managed to achieve a better continuation of the urban fabric within the development zone. The Directorate commended the applicant for introducing more public open spaces through plazas from what was proposed at the outline stage.
The project will include the construction of three separate blocks, Block A will have 39 residential apartments and three small retail outlets, Block B will have 47 residential apartments, while the new hotel block will have 17 aparthotel rooms and 26 guestrooms. The project has the provision of accommodating 176 parked vehicles.
The project has also improved vehicular access from what was proposed in the outline permit. While the vehicular access will still be accessed from Triq Santa Katerina, it will no longer be located on a corner but has shifted to the middle of residential Block A.
The Board was satisfied that this project had addressed several environmental, visual and traffic concerns that had been raised by objectors, consultees and the Local Council and that the project, once realised, will regenerate the existing site of the closed hotel building and its surroundings.