Recent released photomontages visualise for the first time the impact of the proposed 38-storey Town Square tower on the Sliema skyline.
Last June, the tower was included in the project for the redevelopment of the old Union Club site as part of the application which has been pending with the Planning Authority since 2005.
PA records show that over 300 representations against the proposal were submitted to the authority since the tower proposal was made public last summer.
The proposal includes excavation of the site, the construction of an underground car park and service facilities, a number of low rise buildings, food and beverage outlets, a pedestrianised mixed development of retail and office outlets, and residential units.
According to the submitted documents, the total built volume will reach 54,888 square metres on a footprint of 9,237 square metres. Forty thousand square metres will be dedicated to residential areas, over 5,000 square metres will host offices, while a retail and piazza will cover a volume of close to 9,500 square metres.
Construction would take 54 months
Villa Drago, included in the site, is indicated to cater for retail as well as for food and beverage outlets. The villa, a scheduled Grade 1 monument built in 1881, will be refurbished and recent additions will be removed.
If the development is approved, it is estimated the construction works would take 54 months.
Last year, the Sliema local council objected to the development, with one of its main concerns being traffic generation.
The council warned that there was no way to improve the road network to accommodate the increased traffic that would be generated in the area.
In a representation to the planning watchdog, Sliema council had said that “by no stretch of the imagination can there be such a development without a radical upgrade of the infrastructure to access the area, such as by metro”.
Studies indicated that, even without the project, the current traffic flow of 1,868 cars during the afternoon peak hour would reach 2,379 in 2017.
Din L-Art Ħelwa too has objected to the proposals, identifying traffic, air quality and density as key problems in the area: “All these factors and daily lives are definitely not to be improved but only worsened by a project of this scale.”