Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 March, 2023 at 2:53 pm by Andre Camilleri
Italian low-cost supermarket giant Eurospin’s plans for a new supermarket just off Marsa’s Aldo Moro Road have received the thumbs up from the Planning Authority’s case officer, paving the way for the project to be approved later this year.
Eurospin have long been sizing up an entry into the Maltese market – following the lead of fellow Italian discount supermarket Lidl, which has since become the most popular supermarket franchise in the country – and it appears that an outlet in Marsa will be their first.
The proposed supermarket is on the 7,635 square metre site of the Salv Bezzina & Sons shipyard along Aldo Moro Road in Marsa, and the development intervention would see the total demolition of the existing industrial complex and its replacement with a supermarket, parking area and other ancillary facilities.
150 parking spaces will be provided as part of the project on the ground floor, while the supermarket will be situated on the first floor and will have a floor area of 1,399 square metres.
The case officer noted that the building’s height will be of 11.15 metres, which does not exceed the six floor limit when facing Aldo Moro Road or the four floor limit deeper in the site, while the overall design “reflects the ‘normal’ supermarket structure outlining the main entrances in glazing.”
The proposal also includes the installation of five illuminated signs along the facades overlooking Aldo Moro Road.
“Two of these signs will bear the company logo, whereby the other three will be indicating the locality, a company saying and the demarcation of the supermarket’s entrance point,” the case officer said in the report.
A totem sign bearing the Eurospin logo will also be placed at the edge of the parking area overlooking Aldo Moro Road.
The site is planned in what is an area zoned for showrooms and offices, whereas its present use was for industrial and storage purposes.
“Keeping in mind the zoning and the commercial activities in the vicinity, the proposed supermarket is deemed an acceptable introduction in this area,” the case officer’s report reads.
The complex will contain two entrances: one in Labour Road which will be used solely for the delivery of stock and for waste carrier operations, and one on Aldo Moro Road through a service road which will be the customer entrance.
Transport Malta gave its blessing to the plans after the submitting of a Traffic Impact Assessment, and said that “there are no significant impacts resulting from the expected traffic generation on the junctions studied and the access layout is adequate for the expected trip generation and distribution.”
The Environment & Resources Authority (ERA) also had no objection to the proposed project from an environmental point of view, and was satisfied that its feedback for the inclusion of electric vehicle charging bays, bicycle racks, and motorcycle parking bays was accepted.
The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage noted that the site is proposed 24 metres away from a recorded ancient tomb, and that “there is a risk that ground disturbance in this area may uncover cultural heritage features that may necessitate amendments to the proposed drawings.”
However the Superintendence said it did not object to the proposed development application on the condition that the works are archaeologically monitored.
With all of the above in mind, the case officer recommended that the project is approved by the Planning Authority.
The application is now set to be heard by the Planning Authority in May.
Eurospin first touted its wish to open its doors in Malta back in 2019, when a company brochure indicated that it wanted to open 12 supermarkets across the island.
Established in 1993, the franchise operates 1,220 supermarkets in Italy. Malta would be its third overseas market, as the company also operates 58 supermarkets in Slovenia – the first of which opened in 2004 – and another 19 in Croatia – the first of which opened in 2020.
In 2021, the company registered €8 billion in sales income, and a net income of €360 million, while also employing around 20,000 people.