It had been promised ever since the site was leased to the car park operators nearly 30 years ago, but the MCP Car Park in Floriana has finally been capped by a garden.
The garden has been developed as part of a project which has seen the car park add 400 parking spaces over its six underground levels.
The operators had been granted a concession on the site back in 1991, and the plan had always been to cap off the underground car park with a garden to minimise its visual impact. But once the car park became operational in 1995, this capping failed to follow suit, leaving a gaping hole which proved to be an eyesore on the approach to Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The planned extension of the car park – which extends each of its underground levels to cover this gaping hole – was initially announced in 2012.
The permit was granted in 2015, and the project was initially set to be completed a year later. The project was initially estimated to cost €5 million, but the actual expenditure has hovered around the €10 million mark.
But even at this stage, further delays came along, although finally, with the car park marking its 25th anniversary, the gaping hole is no more.
The project was welcomed by Transport Minister Ian Borg and Parliamentary Secretary for Lands Chris Agius, who emphasised the government’s cooperation with the private sector.
Borg also emphasised the importance of creating more open spaces.