The only bid submitted for the Chalet site in Sliema, was not recommended for award, Malta Strategic Partnership Projects Ltd (MSPP) said on Wednesday.

MSPP had originally launched a call for proposals from the private sector to rehabilitate the site in Tower Road at the end of October 2022. The public call came to a close a year ago today.

“The Government will nonetheless continue with its pledge to continue investing in the regeneration of this important Sliema site so that such investment can contribute towards an improved quality of life for the Sliema community,” said MSPP.

The Chalet site, which was once highly popular, is currently just a stretch of concrete and has been abandoned for almost six decades, with almost no accessibility to the public.  

In it’s recent call for proposals MSPP explained that the project was studied within the terms of the 2002 Chalet Development brief which invited bidders to submit proposals for the regeneration and design management, operation, maintenance and transfer back of the ex-chalet site.

MSPP explained that the reinstatement of the site as a superior quality catering and entertainment establishment involves an injection of a minimum of €3.2 million through the initial capital investment, followed by subsequent partial re-investment of €1.4 million every seven years, and complete re-investment of €3.2 million between the 28th and 30th year of the given concession by the bidders.

The concession period was set at 65 years and requested also the annual ground-rent and an annual concession from project proponents.

It was previously reported that Stivala Group bid an €8.4 million offer and did not include the ground rent payment.

Also known as Ghar id-Dud, the Chalet was inaugurated on 12th May 1926 and built in the contemporary neo-liberty/art nouveau style.

Days after its inauguration, the Malta Chronicle reported that the Chalet is “beautifully constructed in reinforced concrete on a jutting rock with two spacious storeys, having accommodation for refreshments, dancing and bating for hundreds of people at one time.”

By time, after World War II the Chalet was repaired, sold and reopened in July 1944 under new management. Despite so, in 1959 it was declared structurally unsafe and in 1963 it was permanently closed. Strong winds and rough seas weakened the structure.

Prior attempts have been made to bring the Chalet back to life, but the proposals were in vain. In 2006, it was demolished and has since remained as a concrete base.

Evans Building in Valletta

Additionally, MSPP announced that Valletta Luxury Projects’ bid for a 65-year concession for the regeneration of Evans Building Site in Valletta has been recommended for the award.

The company, an Eden Leisure-Weingard partnership, bid a yearly offer of €1.2 million to eventually reach a total of €78 million over the concession period, the highest bid received for the regeneration.

“Various offers submitted for the Evans Building site have been evaluated,” MSPP said in a statement.

Earlier, another bid for the Evans Building was submitted by Katari Hospitality Joint Venture at €41 million. Despite being reported as the highest bidder in April, news reports were later debunked and clarified that that Valletta Luxury Projects had in fact presented the highest bid.

As part of the regeneration strategy of the lower part of the capital city, Valletta, MSPP explained that it has “worked extensively on studies to assess the potential of converting this building into a touristic accommodation of superior quality.”

The concession is meant to see the renovation of the building into a top hospitality establishment, with the aim of attracting more tourism activity to the lower end of the capital. previously reported that Eden Leisure and the hospitality entrepreneur Mark Weingard were to bring Anantara, a luxury Thai-based hotel brand, in Malta. The brand forms part of Minor Hotels, a company operating over 500 hotels around the world.

The site in Valletta, which is regulated with the Development Brief of 2011, has an important story which ties with the surroundings and the Maltese heritage. The Fort St Elmo and Environs Development Brief gives the faculty for a complete redevelopment of the site in question, however after consulting with UNESCO and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, it was decided that the Evans Building would retain its original façade.

“All this goes hand in hand with the mission of Malta Strategic Partnership Projects in supporting the sustainable development of cultural heritage but with a view of conserving such assets and turning them into opportunities,” MSSP said.

It also added that the rehabilitation of such sites will contribute towards the generation of economic activity including more employment opportunities as well as contributing towards important environmental and social objectives.

“MSPP now looks forward in seeing the final stages of the procurement process is concluded so that this project is put forward to Parliament for its approval,” the Government company concluded.

A 3,327-meter square building in the tip of the Valletta peninsula

The Evans Building site has been identified by MSPP as an important site that can contribute towards “the continuous strengthening of the tourism product in Malta.”

Evans Building covers an extensive 3,327-meter square area, in Merchants Street, near the tip of the Valletta peninsula.

The four-storey building was constructed in 1952 and has a built-up footprint of around 1,080 square metres per level.

The original purpose of the building was to serve as university laboratories, but until recently it housed a number of Government Departments.

During World War II the site sustained extensive damages but nonetheless still holds elements of heritage value with a number of cultural heritage remains that lie within the open space between Evans Building and the Sacra Infermeria. This includes the ruins of the Nibbia Chapel, built in 1619, the Chapel of Bones, and the remains of the Anatomical Theatre.

The MSPP, in their initial statement to attract requests for the site’s rehabilitation, explained that the latter two are currently buried underneath this external area and little is known about their current state.  

Featured Image:

The Chalet in Tower Road Sliema / MSPP


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