A proposed 25-storey tower close to the Intercontinental Hotel will be a "landmark for the future of Malta, symbolising the forward looking of Maltese people", the developers have claimed.

The high-rise, which will replace a number of derelict villas at the corner of Triq Santu Wistin and Triq Sant Andrija in Paceville, has been proposed by Paul Xuereb of PX Lettings and is designed by two associated offices: 7478 + Christian Spiteri Architects.

New details on the project, one of several featured in the scrapped draft Paceville masterplan, were published for consultation by the Environment and Resources Authority on Tuesday at the start of the impact assessment process.

According to a project description statement by the developers, the site will be developed into a “true gate for Paceville” and “a landmark project that will become 'the' business hub for Malta”.

The high-rise will include offices, apartments and a hotel, as well as two public plazas and underground parking.

The changes are likely to have a positive impact, taking account of the current degraded state of the site

The building will have a distinctive shape “emphasized by a bronze cladding that is site specific and outstanding at the same time,” according to the developers.

Construction will be carried out in phases, with the first - the underground car park - planned to last 40 weeks, and the whole project expected to take three years.

The developers acknowledge that the project may have impacts on water and air quality during construction and operation, as well as visual and cultural impacts, and traffic management considerations. They propose to address these concerns through a detailed Construction Management Plan.

“The changes are likely to have a positive impact, taking account of the current degraded state of the site and the height and profile of the existing hotel and entertainment buildings within the neighbourhood,” they state in the document.

Notwithstanding this, careful attention to the detailed decoration and landscaping will be important to ensure that visual integration is maximised in respect of this urban fringe location.

The project is directly adjacent to a 15-storey hotel planned by developer Joseph Portelli, who is also behind the approved 32-storey Mercury House project nearby.

No planning application has yet been submitted for the development, but a separate permit for underground parking to service the future high-rise planned by Mr Portelli was granted last year.

The car park permit is under appeal by the Eden Leisure Group, who have argued that assessing the two applications separately prevented a holistic review of the entire project, and that splitting them was intended “to deflect the real and contentious planning issues that are intrinsic in the development”.

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