Anġlu Xuereb has a 10-year plan for Valletta

Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Updated 12.26pm - Added PDF drawings

Can you imagine a Valletta where large government buildings have been transformed into five-star hotels, subterranean tunnels link the city to its suburbs, and dilapidated townhouses are restored to their former glory? Entrepreneur Anġlu Xuereb can.

In a detailed 10-year master plan passed on to The Sunday Times of Malta, Mr Xuereb maps out his vision for the capital. Full details of the plan are in the PDF links at the bottom of this article. 

“My vision is for a Valletta with a long-term master plan that will enable it to be regenerated into a truly unique Renaissance city.

“I love our capital city and I want it to be brought back to life as a centre of commerce and a home for the many residents that should be attracted back,” says Mr Xuereb’s 14-page plan, Regenerating Our Renaissance Capital.

His suggestions range from logistical changes such as limiting the window for when delivery trucks can enter the city or putting an 11pm curfew on live music to not disturb residents, to larger, more ambitious proposals such as an underground electric tram connecting the Floriana park-and-ride to City Gate.

In fact, Mr Xuereb envisions an extensive tunnel network for Valletta and its surroundings, such as a network connecting the Porte des Bombes to Floriana and another from there to the start of the old Malta railway at City Gate.

The city has a host of dirty buildings, full of black residue, that have not been cleaned since they were built

“Then, electric people movers, like you find in many airports abroad linking one terminal to another, can be used,” Mr Xuereb writes.

He also would like to see two bus routes, free of charge, around Valletta, as these, he feels, would encourage businesses to move away from the top of Merchants and Republic Streets, giving a more even spread of commerce and, in turn, gentrifying the lower parts of Valletta.

Dirty facades? Mr Xuereb suggests giving them a wash. “The city has a host of dirty buildings, full of black residue, that have not been cleaned since they were built.”

A simple wash with water, not under high pressure, would remove as much as 90 per cent of the dirt, he believes.

Mr Xuereb also has plans for several car parks, including a 3,000-space multi-storey subterranean lot to be excavated under the Floriana football field.

“This can have two accesses, one from Sa Maison for the north traffic and another from Floriana for the south and centre,” he writes.

The car park could even include a football pitch on the roof, complete with stands.

Another parking solution could be an underground lot in Valletta, however this would cater to “top management” only.

“If a company is capable of investing several million euros in office space, it can invest a further few hundred thousand euros to have its own car park for executives,” he writes.

And what capital city would be complete without a host of five-star hotels? If he got his way, Mr Xuereb would see the Auberge de Baviere, the House of Catalunya, lower St Elmo, the Palazzo Ferreria and the Boffa Hospital transformed into luxury accommodation.

Other proposals

· Relax regulations governing which buildings can be used as offices.

· Bolster a recent government scheme in which cheap annual lease agreements were extended to the medium and long term.

· Turn the Presidential Palace into a national museum.

· Open more underground tunnels.

· Demolish the social housing “eyesore” opposite the new Parliament building and relocate the families and businesses that reside there.

· Make better use of large convents, giving them a new “social purpose” by turning them, for example, into retirement homes or childcare centres.

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