Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Eliott Hotel submits plans for 28 storey tower

The O’Callaghan Hotel Group has submitted a planning application for a new 28-floor hotel that, if approved, will dramatically change Gibraltar’s skyline.

At 95 metres high the proposed building, an annexe to the Eliott Hotel in the heart of town, would tower over its surroundings. It would be over twice the height of the Eliott Hotel, which is owned by the O’Callaghan group, and more than three times the height of the nearby Gibraltar Heights building.

The application follows last December’s announcement of plans to construct a 100 metre high building on the Naval Ground site as part of the Mid Town Development.

The O’Callaghan group’s proposal is sure to generate heated debate, with Chronicle readers already writing to this newspaper objecting to the project on the scale proposed.

The Office of the Town Planner has also received a number of representations about the new hotel, the Chronicle understands.

The proposed building may not be to everyone’s taste but, if nothing else, it is most certainly striking in its design.

Artist impressions submitted by the O’Callaghan group as part of an application for outline planning permission filed with the Office of the Town Planner show a visually arresting, modern building that soars over its setting.

It would be linked to the existing Eliott Hotel by a bridge at the level of the existing reception area, which would double as the main entrance to both.

The plans, prepared by WCSA Architects and Planning Consultants, state that the aim is to provide a new architectural focal point for the area and build much-needed high-quality hotel business suites in the centre of town.

The façades of the building are layered to create additional depth and reflect what the application describes as Gibraltar’s “highly articulated and fractured” townscape.

“The building will add drama and challenge the viewer to explore and compare between the old and the new,” the application states.

The plans are to build the hotel on a 6,880 square metre plot of land on Cannon Lane immediately behind the Eliott Hotel that is currently used as a car park. The application is still available for viewing by the public in the Office of the Town Planner in Europort.

The developer will have an opportunity to submit counter-representations to any representations from the public before the application is considered by the Development and Planning Commission.

One of the key issues to be assessed is whether plans for such a tall building comply with government rules for development within the town area.

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