MIDI plc has invested €21 million in the preservation of previously neglected heritage buildings such as Fort Manoel, Fort Tigné, Tigné Barracks and the Garden Battery.
MIDI CEO Mark Portelli and Senior Project Manager Perit Ivan Piccinino explained to Newsbook.com.mt that restoration works form part of the ongoing Manoel Island and Tigné development projects, undertaken by MIDI plc.
“The works form part of our commitment to restore these magnificent buildings so that they can be enjoyed by the public. The restoration works on the Fort Tigné side is now complete, while at Manoel Island we have restored Fort Manoel, St George’s Chapel and part of the Cattles Shed,” he said.
The conservation of these landmark heritage buildings is key to the revised Masterplan, Portelli stressed. The heritage buildings will be restored to preserve Manoel Island’s past, while creating a new vision for its future.
The extensive restoration works on Fort Manoel started in August 2001 after it had been neglected for many years. All the heritage buildings will occupy prominent positions within the new 35,000sqm open space which extends from the bridge to the Lazzaretto quay. These buildings will be restored to provide an animated commercial offering which compliments the surrounding open spaces.
Portelli explained that the Lazzaretto will be restored for mixed-use and hospitality purposes. The proposed interventions to this building were assessed in full by the respective authorities prior to approval and the conclusion reached is that the proposed additions are acceptable and sensitive to the cultural and historic values of the site.
In the meantime, the magnificent Baroque fort, which has been restored to its former glory, will be transformed into a cultural and arts hub, with galleries, museums, shops and amenities, all with full public access, he said.
MIDI regularly hosts open days at Fort Manoel giving the public the opportunity to view the restoration works. Entrance to the fort and guided tours on the day are provided free of charge. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions the open days have been suspended for now.
Moving on to the restoration of the Garden Battery at Tigné, Perit Ivan Piccinino explained that the Garden Battery Plaza will provide fully accessible public walkways and create an attractive garden setting, with stone terraces, stepped seating, green spaces planted with native species and a water feature.
The proposed plaza and public space adjoining the Garden Battery at Tigné Point
The new plaza adjoining the existing Tigné Piazza on the southern edge of the Garden Battery will form a new public meeting place with space for community activities. The Garden Battery Plaza will house a panoramic glazed lift and staircase to connect it to Pjazza Tigné and The Point Shopping Mall.
“MIDI took the decision to retain, preserve and breathe new life into the battery while seamlessly incorporating it into the plans for the Tigne Point development, he said, “This decision was not without its challenges as it necessitated a redesign of the already approved plans while adding unforeseen costs. It proved to be the right decision however and today this fortification has been integrated seamlessly with the development and will now form part of a heritage trail which will link Fort Cambridge to Fort Tigné connecting to an uninterrupted pedestrian promenade around the Tigné Point peninsula, from Qui-Si-Sana to Tigné seafront.”