The New Masterplan
The 2017 masterplan has been revised and a new proposal has been submitted to ERA and PA for their consideration. The reason for the revision of the 2017 masterplan is the result of a two-year site investigation, in collaboration with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage which revealed a number of areas which are of archaeological importance. The affected area has a footprint of around 22,000 sqm.
The preservation of this site provided an opportunity for MIDI to create a revised and more sustainable masterplan for Manoel Island. Apart from a significant reduction in the volume of the development, the revised masterplan includes a new open public space measuring 35,000 sqm in the heart of the development, complementing the 80,000 sqm public Glacis Park surrounding Fort Manoel.
The proposed amended masterplan for Manoel Island aims to retain the aspects of the mixed-use development and enhance this by placing a stronger emphasis on creating more open and larger public spaces. The new masterplan also reduces the footprint of new development and provides a better proportion of mixed uses in the commercial areas and better integration of the existing heritage buildings through the public spaces.
A key objective is the creation of a well-connected, pedestrian-friendly, and comfortable environment accessible to all people - a place with a genuine sense of community and deeply rooted on the Maltese culture. The proposal also seeks to combine better accessibility to the heritage assets with a diversified commercial, cultural and sustainable offer. It is envisaged that this interaction will strengthen the attraction of the island to both potential visitors and residents.
The main objectives of the amended masterplan are listed below.
Restoration and adaptive re-use of heritage assets
The existing heritage assets provide an integral part of the design philosophy of the new masterplan. The masterplan considers the restoration and reuse of the heritage structures present on Manoel Island, including Fort Manoel and the Lazzaretto, as well as other buildings, such as the Customs House, St. George’s Chapel, the Cattle Shed, the Admiralty Canteen and Boat-Builders’ Workshop. The new masterplan also proposes the restoration and re-use of the Pay Office and Guard House amongst other archaeological sites on the island.
Following restoration, the heritage buildings will also be carefully adapted for re-use in a manner that will ensure self-preservation of the cultural heritage that they embody.
In addition, the masterplan includes the transformation of the glacis around Fort Manoel, with all it’s heritage features into a public park.
Public Open Spaces
One of the key drivers for this project, is the emphasis on quality and quantity of public open space. The objective is to create a number of new open spaces in prominent places within the masterplan which while integrating better the heritage buildings, create open spaces of recreation for the general public’s enjoyment. The archaeological sites uncovered during recent investigations will also be integrated into these open spaces.
The open spaces will be prominent throughout the development, taking up over two thirds of the developable footprint area and serves as an integral part of the project’s identity.
The sustainable design strategy for Manoel Island has been approached from a holistic point of view, addressing all aspects of sustainability – economic, environmental and social – together with cultural sustainability.
The quantity and quality of the public spaces are fundamental objectives of the sustainable design approach. In the new masterplan, a great proportion of the land will remain accessible to the public and there will be improved accessibility to buildings of cultural heritage and the foreshore.
Furthermore, accessibility via sea will complement this objective with the introduction of strategically placed water taxi landing points. The creation of an attractive pedestrian streetscape and environment with a reduced vehicular access is also a key objective making the island a pedestrian priority area.
Gżira FC Pitch and Ancillary facilities
In line with the Emphyteutical Grant, new football training facilities will be built for use by Gzira FC. This will be supplemented by other sports facilities within the vicinity of the football ground.
New facilities for the Gżira Boċċi Club will be provided as per Lease Agreement provisions. These facilities will be next door to the new proposed football pitch.
Connectivity to the mainland
A new bridge is being proposed in line with the 2006 Local Plans. This will be referred to as the North Bridge.
Marina and related facilities
The marina, marina promenade and related ancillary facilities including the provision of a pier incorporating a water taxi/ferry berthing position and a small commercial facility at the water’s edge will also be developed. The water taxi will facilitate the link from the island to Valletta, Sliema and the three cities.
The marina itself will consist of four pontoons, a fifth pontoon which will encompass the Visitor Marina area and a Superyacht section. In all the marina will contain around 188 berths.
The marina will have a floating breakwater around 100m in length, jutting out from the quay wall in front of the Lazzaretto, and within a safe distance away from the light wreck to ensure its protection.
Manoel Island Residences
The majority of the residences will be located towards the west and central part of the island, separated by a large public open landscaped space and commercial offering. They are also positioned in areas where studies show that they will not impede on archaeologically sensitive areas. This mix of residences will also create a distribution of architectural massing creating a respectful skyline with minimal visual impact to the surrounding harbour and heritage structures. A further residential offering will be located at the former Boat Builder’s workshop.
The new masterplan will create a blend of commercial attractions that will add life to the centre of the development, and complement further the large expanses of open public spaces. A subtle mix of retail, food and beverage and public amenities will be incorporated within existing and new buildings, which will enhance the quality experience without overwhelming the overall development.
This masterplan also includes the hospitality offerings within the Lazzaretto building and the Pay Office.