International Hotel Investments plc - Redevelopment Plans for ‘Hal-Ferh’

On 12 May 2020, International Hotel Investments plc issued an announcement providing an update on its planned redevelopment of a site formerly known as ‘Hal-Ferh’ located in Golden Bay. In this respect, IHI noted that its title to the land is held by way of a perpetual emphyteusis acquired from the Government of Malta in 2009 which limits any potential development to a footprint of not more than 16,700 sqm or 20% of the site’s overall area. Half the built footprint can be developed over two floors whilst the other half to a single storey. Furthermore, maximum development is not to exceed 25,000 sqm of gross floor area. The site currently enjoys a valid planning permit issued early in 2013 for a mass-market timeshare development comprising 216 self-catering apartments and a number of villa-style pavilions. The emphyteutical deed cites tourism as a use for the site but included a mechanism for the conversion of part of the gross floor area to residential.

IHI reiterated that its plans for ‘Hal-Ferh’ is to retain the limitations on the overall footprint and volumes, as well as the maximum height of two floors for half the buildings and one floor for the rest. On this basis, IHI explained that its intends to pursue an upmarket low-rise mixed development focused principally on a luxury hotel and spa complemented by serviced villas and bungalows. Having signalled these intentions, and as per contractual mechanisms in the emphyteutical deed and the current planning permit, a series of processes has now commenced, the first being a public consultation on changes to the development brief for the site. It is expected that when this process is complete, the normal planning application process will commence in parallel to a triggering of the emphyteutical deed’s mechanisms for the adoption of a mixed-use scheme, all of which are public processes.

IHI also reaffirmed that once redeveloped, ‘Hal-Ferh’ will continue to exalt the Maltese character of the surrounding environment as the current limitations on footprints, heights and development volumes cited in the original title and development briefs for the site will be maintained. This will also be pursued in line with the Group’s long-term strategy of positioning the Corinthia brand as an international luxury brand targeting the more discreet and upmarket clientele.

IHI concluded by saying that it will keep the market informed of developments as these take their course over the next months and years.