A historic Balzan building abutting San Anton Palace, the presidential residence, is currently up for sale, presenting a tantalising opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs.

The property formerly housed the popular Melita Gardens establishment, which closed down last year when the restaurant’s 18-year lease expired.

Speaking to WhosWho.mt, owner and agent Robert Desira Buttigieg says that the property has been in the family for around 125 years.

“It was previously owned by our parents, who were two brothers and a sister. Unfortunately, all three have passed away, leaving eleven siblings jointly owning the place.”

With 11 different people of ages ranging from 20 to 74 all having different ideas on how to best utilise the space, coming to an agreement on a proposal was not easy. Ultimately, all agreed to sell the property.

“It is a sad move but times change and life goes on,” says Mr Desira Buttigieg, who declined to reveal the asking price.

What the family realised, when meeting persons interested in acquiring the property, is just how well-known it is.

“Everybody in Malta knows where it is, and has been there at least once or twice in their lifetime. So it has been heart-warming to speak to so many people recount fond old memories of it.”

Prior to its transformation into a multipurpose venue hosting everything from group functions to art exhibitions, the site was used as a small bar and low-key hotel.

Mr Desira Buttigieg says that the building’s original use, during the time of the Order of St John, was to serve as mistresses’ quarters where lovers of the supposedly celibate Knights could meet and change in private.

He adds that there was once a tunnel connecting the property and San Anton Palace, allowing for night-time trysts away from prying eyes, though this path is now blocked and inaccessible.

With the beautiful interior and breathtaking gardens leaving a mark on so many people’s memories, it is likely to be only a matter of time before the site is snapped up. 

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Robert Fenech

Robert is curious about the connections that make the world work, and takes a particular interest in the confluence of economy, environment and justice. He can also be found moonlighting as a butler for his big black cat.