Leading international hotel chain Mariott has confirmed and signed an agreement to open a major 300-room five star hotel in SmartCity, according to information being circulated by real estate agents promoting The Shoreline project in SmartCity.
When contacted by The Business Observer to confirm or deny the story, a spokesman for SmartCity declined to comment.
Last month, The Business Observer reported that the prominent five star Le Méridien Hotel in St Julians will be rebranding to the Mariott Hotel and Spa, after Mariott acquired its parent company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. With the benefit of hindsight, a comment by Le Méridien Hotel’s General Manager Alex Incorvaja last month that they were proud to be ‘the first’ Mariott Hotel that will be opening in Malta, can now be taken within the context of a potentially additional five star Mariott Hotel being planned for the south of the island.
If it materialises, the opening of the Mariott Hotel in SmartCity is set to continue fuelling the controversy over whether it is acceptable that the promoters of the project are being allowed to change the scope of the original SmartCity project, venturing from the information technology and media industry into the residential and hospitality industry. On the other hand, there is no doubt that a five star hotel of such calibre and status will be a first for the south of Malta and it is likely to have a positive impact on various economic sectors in the region.
The real estate agents promoting The Shoreline have also stated that further major projects involving international investors have been greenlighted within SmartCity. Renowned company Johnson & Johnson have allegedly signed a long lease agreement to open training facilities within SmartCity, while world-renowned company General Electric (GE) will be operating an orthopaedic and neurosurgery-specialised hospital. The same reports also stated that La Sapienza University, the largest European university by enrolments and one of the oldest in the world, has also signed an agreement to start offering post-graduate courses in the medical field. Furthermore, the same prospective investors were told that the ITS project will cater for 2,500 students, ‘plus a 150-room hotel’.
To date, the upmarket residential apartments in The Shoreline project have proven to be a runaway success; 80 per cent of the currently available residential units in the new 11-storey development have already been snapped up by property investors, according to leading estate agents as reported by the business portal maltachamber.org.mt.
Maltachamber.org.mt also spoke to Steve Carter, Managing Director of Ricasoli Properties Ltd, who said that the take-up for the residences is as expected for the first phase. “Every single day we receive enquiries about The Shoreline as investors in property have adopted the principle ‘buy great property and wait’”.
Describing the advantages of The Shoreline residences, Mr Carter praised spectacular views, beautifully landscaped open spaces and community amenities. “The Shoreline offers owners a unique and exciting experience of contemporary living in a new environment in Malta. These residences propose an important and essential residential component to the current office, and catering developments and a number of exciting projects that have already been announced at SmartCity.”
“The project is in a specially designated area which allows both EU and non-EU nationals to purchase property with the same acquisition rights as Maltese citizens, and without the need to obtain an Acquisition of Immovable Property permit. This has been noted by investors.” Mr Carter also told maltachamber.org.mt there are no limits on the amount of properties purchased, and once acquired, the owner can lease them if they wish.
This article originally appeared in the July edition of The Business Observer