Feature: Manoel Island to be developed
Manoel Island and the Tigné Point peninsula occupy focal positions in Marsamxett Harbour looking out towards Valletta, Malta’s capital city. At the heart of the country commercial center and occupying an area of 44 hectares, they constitute possibly the two largest and most important as yet undeveloped urban sites in Malta.
In June 2000, following 6 years of preparatory work on a Lease Agreement with the Government, the MIDI Consortium embarked upon the massive US$350 million Manoel Island and Tigné Point Development project. The Consortium, formed in 1992, consists of some of Malta’s most well established business groups and is led by one of the island’s most respected businessmen, Mr. Albert Mizzi as Chairman. Mr. Benjamin Muscat is Chief Executive of the consortium whose shareholders include, Bank of Valletta plc, a leading Maltese Bank, Middle Sea Valletta Life Assurance Company Limited, a subsidiary of Middle Sea plc, an insurance group with a significant equity interest by the leading German underwriters and Munich Re Pininfarina Extra S.R.L.
The project, which is expected to be completed by 2012, is split into two distinct yet complementary developments, Tigné Point and the Manoel Island development. Each project is divided into a number of cohesive phases and the first phase at Tigné Point Project will be completed in 2005. Construction, centers around an 8,500 square meter Tigné Pjazza surrounded by a blend of residential and commercial units, and is now well underway following the issuing of tenders to various contractors by Tigné Contracting Limited, a MIDI subsidiary specifically set up to manage the physical execution of the projects. Another subsidiary company of the MIDI Consortium, Tigné Point Marketing Limited, is already marketing and selling the first apartments.
Apart from the construction of new residential and commercial premises, the MIDI Consortium is also working on the conservation and restoration of the historical buildings at Tigné Point and on Manoel Island. Work on a late 19th century garrison chapel dedicated to St. Luke’s has already been completed and now this splendid building houses the selling and marketing offices at Tigné Point. Fort Tigné, an early 18th century fort forming part of the coastal defenses constructed by the Knights of the Order of St John will also be restored and re-developed to include open-air dining facilities, whilst the outer rampart area will be restored and landscaped as a park open to the general public.
The project to develop the other site, Manoel Island will begin in earnest in about three years’ time. Approximately, only 22 per cent of the island’s land area will be developed. The main components of the development will include a marina village consisting of about 450 residential units, a modern yacht club, a small hotel, a casino, a sports center and a small-scale marine-related commercial development, and a modern marina catering for 400 berths and capable of accommodating super yachts protected by an all weather breakwater. A 17th century waterfront building used a quarantine hospital by the Knights called Lazzaretto will also be refurbished to accommodate a number of recreational services including a quality casino.
Fort Manoel, another grand 17th century structure will also be restored and the areas around the Fort, including its ditch and fortifications, will accommodate a heritage trail, restaurants, museum, open air theatre and a series of studios which lend themselves to a niche office offer.
Using a wealth of experience from different areas of industry, the MIDI Consortium is bringing one of Malta’s most significant areas back to life. The project is moving in a swift but controlled and well-planned manner. In order to ensure the highest standards MIDI has, in fact, also engaged the services of a number of internationally renowned consultants such as Pininfarina and Fitch. Other renowned specialist organisations are assisting MIDI in a vast array of fields including architecture, building and environmental management, ecological appraisal, land surveys, geo-technical investigation and marine archaeology.
The Manoel Island and Tigné Point Development Project, is Malta’s most ambitious development programme since the construction of Valletta in the sixteenth century. By 2012, the MIDI Consortium will have turned these once derelict areas into two of the most prestigious residential and retail areas in both Malta and the Mediterranean.