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.
The news was announced on Wednesday by Malta Strategic Partnership Projects Ltd, a fully Government owned company that falls within the portfolio of the Ministry for Economy, Enterprise and Strategic Projects. Its role is to study, coordinate and facilitate strategic Public-Private Partnerships as well as serving as a central touchpoint for such strategic partnerships.
“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 capital. WhosWho.mt 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.