Hippodrome de la Marsa: nine-storey layout plans filed

The Marsa Racecourse improvement plans call for the erection of a massive nine-story commercial and office building in a modern and fluid architectural style.

A five-storey car park is also available above Marsa Park and Ride. While the ground floor will house a bus terminal, the four superimposed floors will include parking spaces for an impressive 1,248 cars.

A bridge will link the car park and the racecourse. The building will also include an “open top VIP area”.

The corner office building, which also includes three floors of commercial and retail development, is offered near Lidl and Pavi supermarkets.

The plans, drawn by the architect Edwin Mintoff, also provide for the development of the racecourse and the polo field, the development of two club-houses, stables and paddocks, a crèche and an equestrian arena with a grandstand.

In its initial reaction to the submitted plans, the Superintendency for Cultural Heritage described the area where the project is proposed as having a “significant cultural landscape” and called on developers to “take cognizance of the cultural heritage assets within the site, whether they are built works, civil engineering works or archaeological remains ”, and ensure their safeguard.

The superintendent also asked for more details regarding the Marsa Sports Club and the polo club, asking for clarification on whether the building will be “demolished or restored”.

Studies are still needed to assess the “cultural significance” of these buildings.

The area in question was the subject of civil works during the British period. This included an elaborate system of flood channels and sports infrastructure. The polo field has been specially designed with an underlying rainwater drainage system, including graduated embankments and terracotta pipes.

The planning authority’s design advisory committee expressed concerns about the bulk of the corner offices and parking lot, adding that widening the road and the space between these blocks should be considered. He also suggested reducing the clutter of the building, especially on the rue de l’Hippodrome side and the narrow road leading to the Marsa Sports Club.

Marsa Race Track Ltd presented the plans. The company is owned by F. Schembri Holdings and True to Type Limited, based in Ireland. It also includes individual shareholders, namely Irishman Alfred Kenneth Alexander Hill, Hugh Morsehead (also director of Henley and Partners) of Jersey, Briton Kusam Sharma and Maltese lawyer Pio M. Valletta.

According to the deed signed with the government, the annual rent of the land to be paid by the operator for the land housing the racecourse will amount to 100,000 €. Another ground rent of € 650,000 will be due on the land on which a commercial complex is to be built, with € 50,000 of rent due for a 1,200 car parking project. The obligation to pay rent on the parking lot will come into force after three years.

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