Your questions answered

Corinthia plans to develop a low-rise, low-density 5-star Resort on the derelict and disused site that formerly housed the Hal-Ferh Holiday complex in the Golden Bay area, on the north-west coast of Malta.

The proposed Corinthia Golden Sands will comprise a top-tier hotel with 162 keys, Malta’s foremost spa, two restaurants and bars, 25 serviced residences and a host of ancillary amenities.

The site was originally purchased on title of perpetual emphyteusis by Island Hotels Group (IHG) in 2009, following a public call for tenders by the Government and Air Malta.

Corinthia acquired the property, with full development permits for a 224-unit timeshare project, from IHG following its takeover of the group in 2015.

The site is fully owned on a freehold basis.

Corinthia aims to submit a full development application to the Malta Planning Authority shortly.

Only 16,700sqm (or 20%) of the site footprint will be allocated to building. The rest will include amenities and landscaped gardens and walkways.

The resort, designed by award-winning architects Martin Xuereb & Associates, will be low-lying, generally one to two storeys high, and will feature Mediterranean-style architecture that pays homage to the vernacular and is sensitive to the surrounding area. We believe this is crucial for the long-term appeal of the resort.

A detailed survey of the trees on site was carried out and the new masterplan has been designed to work around and incorporate the protected mature trees on the site. Not only will these be retained but many more indigenous trees will be added as part of an extensive tree planting exercise that is currently underway to greatly increase the number of these within the resort.

In keeping with international hotel development practices, Corinthia envisages that one-third of the developable area will comprise 25 serviced residences – which will be fully serviced by the adjacent hotel.

Corinthia has successfully adopted this model in various projects that it has undertaken in the past, within historically sensitive locations including central London, Budapest and St Petersburg, amongst others.

When the Island Hotels Group purchased the site from Government in 2009, the deed included a mechanism that catered for the eventuality of future partial changes in use. Corinthia has instigated this process with Government.

The 2009 deed established that the quantum to effect such a change was to be determined by “an architect or architects appointed by Government in its absolute discretion”, who will establish any incremental financial consideration to be paid. Government has initiated this process and it is ongoing.

Corinthia will be investing some eur150 million in the resort and will be creating over 200 full-time jobs. Allocating a portion of already-permitted floor area to serviced residences is deemed necessary to provide essential cashflow for a project of this scale. Creating a mixed-use scheme instead of one which is purely hotel driven will also mitigate single-sector exposure risk, a factor we have experienced only too acutely of late.

No. Corinthia’s overarching intention is to build and operate a top-tier, five-star resort that will be enjoyed by guests for many years to come. Any future owners will also be prohibited from adding to or increasing the number of residences on the site.

Absolutely not. The new proposal will in fact present a significant improvement to the previous application in environmental terms.

The former Hal Ferh complex (which was itself the site of former military barracks) has lain fallow for decades and several buildings within it are on the verge of collapse.

The proposed regeneration project is fully in keeping with Malta’s vision for sustainability in tourism. Whilst the hotel will be of a higher category, employ more people and include more extensive facilities and amenities than the previously approved 224-unit timeshare resort that it aims to replace, it will comprise far fewer beds than the previous scheme.

This will substantially reduce density, traffic and footfall levels from those previously envisaged – and this without expanding the built footprint, increasing the total built floor-area or raising building heights.

Yes there will be considerably more parking than there has been to date. Apart from catering for its own parking requirements within the confines of the site itself, a second 320-space public carpark is being created on adjacent land at Corinthia’s expense, at a cost of some eur420,00.

This will be operated by the Scouting Association of Malta and will substantially increase the public parking provision in the area.

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