Palazzo Valdina, recently sold by financial services firm Calamatta Cuschieri Investment Services for €3.15 million, has permits to be restored and used as office space, although the buyer, as yet unknown, has not made their intentions for the building clear.
Publicly available documentation shows two recent development applications, one dating back to 2007 and the other to 2020.
Both foresaw the stately building’s renovation into offices, with additional floors built above the existing three.
As a protected building, both were contested, with the 2020 application not yet granted, although the final hurdle – approval from the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage – seems to have finally been obtained in January 2023.
There is no obligation on the buyer to retain these plans, although sources familiar with the Valletta property market indicate that a change of use for tourist accommodation purposes as a boutique hotel is unlikely.
"Valletta seems to have reached a saturation point in boutique hotels," they said.
The owner of a bar nearby told this newsroom that the palazzo had been on sale for years, with the steep asking price – and expected cost of renovation – putting many potential buyers off.
The asking price, as per a dedicated website (now defunct) created by the sellers to promote the site, was originally set at €3.35 million. The final selling price was for €200,000 less.
Palazzo Valdina was originally bought by Calamatta Cuschieri to extend its footprint in the capital, with its old offices only a block away.
However, sources within the company said it changed its plans after its headcount increased beyond what could be comfortably hosted within the palazzo.
It moved to new premises in Birkirkara in 2017.
The 1,200sqm property, with 20 rooms around a central courtyard, got its name from Fra Carlo Valdina, a knight who led “an exceptionally picturesque life”, according to Judge Emeritus Giovanni Bonello, who wrote a history of the property.
He wrote that Fra Valdina was “hardly a lovable character: greedy, violent, an insatiable bully who aimed at power and wealth”.
This led to the Inquisitor at the time to describe him as a “concubinario - a person who lives openly with his mistress – corrupt and corrupting, a man of poor value.”
According to the Planning Authority's case officer, Fra Valdina purchased the palace from Grand Master Antoine de Paule, although there does not seem to be any clear indication whether it was originally built for the famed Grand Master or for someone else.
Calamatta Cuschieri Investment Services (all images)