Midi's planned development on Manoel Island has been officially approved by the Planning Authority.
The plans feature an extensive residential and commercial complex, including 600 apartments, a hotel at the historic Lazaretto, retail outlets, a yacht marina, streets and plazas.
The developers are promising the restoration of several heritage buildings and 80,000 square metres of new parks and family areas around Fort Manoel, which will itself comprise galleries, museums, shops, restaurants after earlier plans for a hotel at the fort were dropped.
8,000 square metres of development space removed from the Manoel Island plans will be transferred to Midi's development at Tigne.
13 board members, including Labour, Nationalist Party and Gzira local council representatives voted in favour. The sole dissenter was NGO representative Annick Bonello, who cited environmental concerns.
However, more than 6,000 people had signed a public petition in recent weeks calling on the government to turn Manoel Island into a wooded park with heritage buildings and save the iconic views from Gzira and Ta’ Xbiex.
Midi and the Gżira council have also signed a guardianship agreement, through which the council will be able to hold the developers to its key pledges.
Under the agreement, a jointly-set up foundation will be able to take the developers to court if they alter building heights, build up the promised public park around Fort Manoel or rescind on other aspects of the agreement.