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MaltaToday 23 November 2022 MIDWEEK

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9 NEWS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 23 NOVEMBER 2022 Zebbug Toyota site to be turned into eight-storey office blocks Michael Debono Group to transform Toyota showroom site in Ħaż-Żebbuġ into office blocks and open space but project drawings not yet available on the PA's website JAMES DEBONO MICHAEL Debono Group have announced plans for an eight-storey office development on the Toyota showroom site in Ħaż-Żebbuġ. The statement with artistic impressions of the proposed development were released on Tuesday by the company, the same day the application was formally presented to the Plan- ning Authority. The plans are however, un- available on the PA website since the application still has to be certified by the authori- ty and given a number. At this stage, it is impossible to inde- pendently verify the informa- tion contained in the press re- lease with the actual planning application. The site was already ear- marked for the development of an 11-storey commercial and office tower back in 2019, however this garnered the ob- jections of over 2,600 residents, including the council. Former mayor Sarah Agius Saliba had described the pro- ject as a "monster", more than twice the height of the tall- est buildings in Ħaż-Żebbuġ, which are usually limited to five floors. Now, the group has decided to pre-empt criticism by issuing a statement and artistic impres- sions of the project on the same day that the application was presented. The company statement states that the "landmark project" will provide workspaces for knowl- edge intensive service providers in the central region of Malta, which will be complemented with retail, food and beverage, leisure uses as well as local amenities surrounded by ex- tensive open public spaces. The project will also include a mul- ti-storey car park, which will be a first in the area. "It is estimated that, once complete, the project will gen- erate employment opportuni- ties for around 1,300 people, with an investment of over €55 million," the company said. The project will span over 11,000sq.m out of which more than 4,000sq. m "will be car-free public open spaces". The development will be split over two blocks. The maximum height of the main block, which will house the main commer- cial activities, is that of eight floors and will feature a ter- raced approach to the build- ing, meaning that parts of this block will be significantly lower in height. Geoffrey Debono, Debono Group CEO, said that this pro- ject constitutes a major mile- stone for his family's business acknowledging the need to di- versify from the the automotive and mobility industry to secure the long-term sustainability of the group's business ventures" Debono insisted that the vi- sion for the project is based on developing an inclusive destina- tion "with extensive open pub- lic spaces" and commercial ac- tivities underpinned by strong ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) principles and the promotion of a healthy life- style for the employees working at the project, visitors and the community at large. Luke Coppini, CEO for the Group's Property arm de- scribed the project as "a well-needed enhancement to the quality of life of the Żebbuġ community" which will "fuel the regeneration of the entire Ħal Mula area."

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