AS the Olive Press reported last issue, planning permission for a five-star Hilton hotel on the site of the landmark Caleta Hotel has been applied for.
The scheme is for far more than simply a like-for-like hotel replacement, with two luxury residential blocks also included in blueprints. These will be located on either side of the Hilton and will dominate the bay.
The northern block is planned to have eight floors and 40 flats and is intended for Gibraltarian families and professionals.
The southern block, on the other hand, will consist of 13 residential floors and 88 flats and duplexes, which will be available for purchase.
These will be mainly for European residences for staff in the financial and gaming sectors.
The proceeds from these sales are expected to be invested in the development of the hotel.
Given the reputation of the Hilton brand, it is envisaged, according to these plans, that the design of the building will meet the hotel chain’s high standards, offering the highest level of finishes, state-of-the-art technologies and maintenance facilities.
Although GCA Architects (the architectural firm behind the project) stresses that it takes into account the environment and the heritage value of the site, the project has raised hackles among those who do not want another large construction on the east side of the Rock.
The most prominent has been a petition on change.org by local activist Katie Perez-Muldoon.
It received the support of almost 800 people in one day, and calls for an immediate halt to the project.
In her petition she states that the destruction of the coastline with high-rise construction must be stopped.
“The Callaghan family has submitted a draft planning permission to demolish the Caleta Hotel and replace it with a huge, largely residential development, disguised as a Hilton hotel project.
“The plan that has reached the CPD is to build two residential towers of 14 and nine storeys, interspersed with a 12 storey hotel’.
“This project will block our coastal views with tall concrete buildings for the sake of profit.”
Once the CDP is approved, if the project remains as it is, construction of the Hilton and the two residential towers is expected to be completed in about three and a half years.
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