Corinthia Group has put its plans for a hotel development that would see its Corinthia St George’s Bay, Radisson Blu and Corinthia Marina hotels converted to a six-star resort, on hold.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, a Corinthia spokesperson confirmed that the company has "put its plans for the St George peninsula on hold for the time being”, as part of a “strategic decision to focus on other projects internationally as well as locally”.
The hospitality group announced plans to redevelop the area in 2015 following a €400 million investment, which would see its hotels there turned into a development that would not include tower blocks. The project is said to include residential apartments, a number of commercial developments, along with some retail outlets.
Alfred Pisani, Chairman of International Hotel Investments plc (IHI), the company which owns and operates Corinthia Group, had confirmed during a press conference that the project will not be “some monster development” but will instead be “a very particular development and one of the most striking in the Mediterranean”.
Mr Pisani had also stated that the project would become Corinthia Group’s flagship property, widening its extensive portfolio that today contains hotels in London, St Petersburg, Rome, Brussels, Lisbon, and other cities.
Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had also attended the press conference, and said the project would have “incalculable” ripple effects on Malta’s economy, with it expected to generate around 600 new jobs.
Following criticism by the public on the impact the project would have on the surrounding environment, IHI confirmed in 2019 that the draft agreement with the Government limits the company to “potentially developing a maximum of 100,000 square metres of commercial and residential areas, besides an obligation to develop two new luxury hotels”. It had also stated that its “intentions remain for the vast majority” of the land to remain “open and landscaped”, with a “majority” of the land remaining unbuilt to achieve its six-star standard.
While Corinthia had originally planned to commence works in 2017, the following years proved to be far more turbulent than initially expected, especially following the resignation of then Minister of Tourism Konrad Mizzi in 2019 and the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions that came with it during 2020 and 2021. Despite this, IHI confirmed earlier this year that preparations are underway for the launch of five new Corinthia brand hotels over 2023 and 2024, with it intending to expand into the four-star hotel sector.