Tigne and Manuel Island

This is two projects rolled into one. Tigne Point is a Eur279.5 million mixture of 450 residential apartments, a 16,000sq m office development, a large retail and leisure area which will be in a sizeable mall, an open piazza with boutiques, cafes' and restaurants.

A spokesman for the Midi Consortium, which is behind the project, is optimistic deadlines will be met. The first 200 apartments, on the water- front facing Valletta, will soon be handed over to their owners who bought them on the strength of the plans in 2002. And the rest will be ready by the autumn. While Tigne's major commercial and entertainment centre and the newly restored Fort Tigne, built in 1792, are due to open, if all goes to plan, next year. This will be the first historical attraction in Sliema and the fort and Garden Battery on the site are expected to be part of a heritage route starting from Qui-Si-Sana towards the foreshore ofTigne.

The rest of the project is still five years away from completion. Funnily enough, this will please residents in the area, who have long argued that a mammoth development of this nature will plunge the Sliema area, which already has traffic problems, into a state of gridlock.

There are no such concerns for Manoel Island, which, apart from a colony of stray dogs, is virtually deserted. According to Midi, this will be a Eur256 million 'marina village' type of development with a low rise residential complex comprising 450 units, a five-star, 280-room hotel, as well as a marina with 400 berths and 80 super berths.

Midi told Time Out: 'We are planning to use an old (plague) hospital for hospitality purposes as well as for retail and leisure. Fort Manoel is to be used as a heritage site to attract tourists, but will also comprise a public area and restaurants.'

The historical buildings are not just being given a make-over, but are being partly reconstructed. 'We will not just repair and restore but where it is appropriate we will reconstruct the building with its original features using methods that are very similar to the original ones. The only difference is that whereas they would have had ten people pulling a stone; today there are mechanised means of doing it.'

The objective is to create 'a lived-in environment' that will allow various establishments to thrive in one of Malta's most beautiful but long neglected areas.

Source Timeout 07