MSPP announces request for proposals to give new life to Evans Building site in Valletta

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 November, 2022 at 3:14 pm by Andre Camilleri

As part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to regenerate Valletta, Malta Strategic Partnership Projects (MSPP) said that it has issued a request for proposals to rehabilitate the Evans Building site in the lower part of the capital city, an area which, compared to others, has benefitted from less investment.

This will be the second site to be regenerated as part of MSPP’s rehabilitation strategy, the agency said in a statement. Within an area of around 3,327 square metres, the Evans Building site is located in Merchants Street, near the tip of the Valletta peninsula. The site includes the Evans Building – a four-storey building which was constructed in 1952 and has a built-up footprint of around 1,080 square metres per level.

The original purpose of the Evans Building was to serve as university laboratories, but until recently it housed several Government Departments. During the Second World War, this site sustained extensive damages.

The building itself has elements of heritage value, while a number of cultural heritage remains lie within the open space between the Evans Building and the Sacra Infermeria. These include the ruins of the Nibbia Chapel, built in 1619, the Chapel of Bones, and the remains of the Anatomical Theatre. The latter two are currently buried underneath this external area, and little is known about their current state.

The Evans Building site is regulated by the St Elmo and Environs Development Brief 2011, which allows the consideration of total redevelopment of this site. Nevertheless, a decision has been made to retain the external shell of the Evans building while allowing interior modifications. This follows a consultative process with UNESCO and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage. MSPP believes that this will serve as a positive and sustainable model of adapting an old building to cater for new functions. In the case of the Evans Building site, the identified use is that of an upmarket tourism accommodation.

As part of the project, MSPP requests that the concessionaire conducts the archaeological investigations which will determine the state of the heritage structures, with the possibility of restoration and opening to the public. In this regard, the request for proposals puts special emphasis on the level of expertise required for this project, with various experts being requested. Other important aspects of the project include the consideration of green measures in both planning and operational phases, as well as the delivery of an upmarket service. MSPP also requires measures that will aesthetically reduce the visual impact of works during the implementation of the project, and an investment in printed hoarding will therefore be necessary.

The concession period is set for 65 years with a minimum initial investment of €13 million and multiple reinvestments along the concession period. The terms also include the potential restoration of the underground structures within the first part of the concession period. Bidders are also being invited to propose measures that aim to achieve environmental, cultural and social objectives.

The annual ground rent has been fixed at €146,000, and the bidders will be competing also on the concession fee, with a minimum set at €302,000. Studies by E-cubed Consultants indicate that the regeneration project of the Evans Building will provide an economic contribution in terms of value added and job creation, throughout both the investment and operational phases. This study estimates that throughout the investment phase, the project may directly generate 29 full-time equivalent jobs, rising to 64 when considering all the multiplier effects. Moreover, approximately €1.2 million annual economic value added is expected to be directly generated as a result of the project, rising to €2.5 million annually through multiplier effects.

Furthermore, during the operational phase, the project can generate an annual average of 115 full time equivalent jobs directly, rising to 212 when considering multiplier effects and a direct value added of €4.5 million annually, rising to €9.6 million through multiplier effects. The introduction of new high-end tourism accommodation in the Southern Harbour is also expected to contribute to the attraction of higher quality tourism and greater touristic activity in this area of Valletta. The request for proposals will close on 3 March 2023. The documents in relation to this invitation can be found on . The proposals will be evaluated by a committee of high-ranking civil servants and public sector employees.

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