45 year lease offered for Valletta retail outlets
After a three year discussion process, 475 retail outlets in Valletta are being offered to partake in a voluntary scheme aimed at providing peace of mind to the owners who after investing money in their outlets can now secure a lease of 45 years over their premises.
Minister Jason Azzopardi this morning has launched a 12 month scheme through which owners of retail shops in Valletta will enter into a lease agreement with the Lands Department for 45 years through three 15 year contracts which are automatically renewed. Dr Azzopardi said that till now the lease contracts were renewed every 6 months and this did not give the necessary security for the owners to secure loans and other financial facilities. In order to provided the much needed peace of mind and help these investors the government has introduced this scheme, which is on voluntary basis allowing those who wish to keep their contracts being renewed every 6 months the option to do so.
Another hurdle encountered by the same retailers was a condition in their contract which precluded them from sub-letting their outlets. This condition will now be repealed for those who partake in this scheme, allowing them the option to sublet the property, on the same conditions that the Land Department gave them, but with a free reign over the rental fee. In this manner retailers can get back part of the investment they put into creating the good will of their outlets.
As part of the scheme the first 3 years lease will be at the fee currently being paid, but will increase gradually from year four until it reaches the agreed amount by the ninth year.The Minister thanked the private sector for its investment in the local economy which saw an increase in the number of local outlets from 15,800 in 2008 to 17,255 this year.
GRTU official Paul Abela expressed his gratitude at the conclusion of the agreement and stated that the GRTU always believed that the goodwill the outlets in Valletta have today should be taken into consideration by the Land Department when outlining the fees of the lease.
Reginald Fava from the Malta Chamber of Commerce, held that Valletta is the biggest shopping mall in Malta, providing a variety of retail outlets that cater for different needs. Mr Fava showed his appreciation that now the owners can have peace of mind over their rental agreements.
Paul Fenech from the Republic Street business community, said that this scheme will help revitalise Valletta giving the capital city a fresh breath leading to the growing of business and will also help Valletta flaunt its prestigious buildings.
After being overlooked by different governments for years, the present government is now investing in the embellishment of Valletta through a systematic sustainable process said Charles Camilleri from the Merchants Street Business community. He continuing that Merchant Street has been turned into a jewel and the process is being repeated across the capital city in a bid to return it to its former glory.
The scheme will open on December 1 and will close on December 1, 2013. The Ministry is currently discussing the possibility of expanding the scheme to include other retail outlets owned by the Lands Department across the island.